Posts Tagged With: best friend

Missing Words and Missing People

It’s Gratituesday. Today I feel profound gratitude for the five years I enjoyed with my best friend Kathy. She passed away early on Friday.

A Lincoln rose, Kathy's favorite.

A Lincoln rose, Kathy’s favorite.

She was ready for it.  For her, death arrived with relief and peace and hope.

We had talked openly and frequently about death during her war years with cancer. Turns out that theory and talk didn’t prepare me for this reality.

I’ve never seen anyone with such a capacity for honesty and directness. Never one to beat around a bush, Kathy simply says what she thinks. And somehow, through charm or charisma, or that cutesy high-pitched teenage voice, she gets away with it. In fact, I’ve found myself emulating her straightforward ways and am all the better for it.

Spunky, gutsy, and get ‘er done doesn’t quite do her justice. If she set her mind to something you’d better get out of the way or pick up a hammer and get to work beside her. Determination resonates as her middle name.

Hand in hand with such spunk is her fearlessness which still dazzles me. My breath catches when I think of the countless number of times she faced a new chemo treatment, another experimental drug, another bone biopsy. Courage of astounding proportions resided in that heart of hers.

She wrapped her all around her children and her husband. Family first, family always. We talked more about her family than any other topics combined. She loves that bunch of people with every bit of herself. Literally and figuratively.

Her fierce capacity for love, listening, acceptance and caring radiated and warmed so many.

Whatever I come up with to express gratitude for her sounds so inadequate. The right words seem caught on the jagged edges of this crater left in my heart by her passing.

Unlike Kathy, I find myself woefully unprepared for her death.

This surprising onslaught of grief seems equally weighted against the laughter, joy and beauty she brought into my life for which I will be forever grateful.

Categories: Cancer, Death, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Taking One Day at a Time

It’s Gratituesday! I’m grateful for time with my best friend today. It felt like a “normal” day, not a month or so away from dying kind of day. We talked like it was any old kind of day, well, except for everything we talked about that isn’t like any other kind of conversation most friends get to have.

good day sunshine

good day sunshine (Photo credit: eye of einstein)

But really, it felt wonderful. It felt almost normal. She had more energy than usual. We were in sync, the world’s machinery ran smoothly for us, we laughed, we dodged crying, we felt like a couple of teenagers getting away with something.

We snuck out of the house and got some early lunch before the germ filled crowds showed up. We went to a matinée movie, sitting in a theater completely empty except for the two of us. The place as bacteria free as a person can get out in public. Her immune system appreciated it. We even talked out loud during the movie which made the day even better. No shushing involved.

I think we must have looked like two old sisters spending time together toddling about town leaning on each other, holding each other up.

I often wonder who is helping who in this relationship. Actually, there’s no wonder involved. I’m pretty certain I’m the one getting helped, being served, feeling loved and learning how to be real.

Yup, today felt great.

I’m thankful for every day I can get in with my bestie.

Categories: Cancer, Fun, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Closest Friend is…Dying

I saw this Daily Post prompt today and thought this would be good for me to write about. I thought I might simply write something but not really post it. It would be cathartic, healing, helpful, insightful. Writing on this topic could lead to some much-needed answers.

I’ve written about her and our friendship before, but that’s been a while. It’s time to think things through again.

Vault Door

Vault Door  (Photo credit: mmahaffie)

Crap.

I sit here blank and empty.

Now I see I have a bunch of steel walls of denial and protection shielding me from facing this reality.

Oh, we talk about it. She and I. What her funeral will consist of, who will speak, what music to have, even what food to serve at the luncheon afterwards.  We’ve talked about her headstone, a bench for visitors. We’ve talked about how she doesn’t want to die in a hospital, but at home. We’ve talked about the raw deal this is. We’ve talked about the good stuff that’s happened in spite of such misery. We’ve talked about the constant pain, the nausea, the chemofuzzybrain. We’ve talked and talked and talked.

Not sure there’s a topic we haven’t touched on.

We’ve talked about our lives. Lots of that stuff. That’s what makes friends, talking about real things, worries, bad choices, craziness, kids, husbands, fun times. It’s a pretty even give and take, too. You’d think it wouldn’t be. You’d think it’d be me listening to her and her concerns. But no. She’s quite the listener. And she gets it. She gets my odd life, she commiserates with my whiny ways. She asks how I’m doing and then she cares and remembers. It isn’t all about her. How’s that for an amazing friend?

There are days I do a bunch of the listening, but we’re pretty evenly matched on talking and listening.

She’s got my back. And I’ve got hers.

That’s friendship. Someone you can count on who gets you.

It stinks big time that I’ve finally got this best friend ever in the history of the world after a zillion years and now she’s going to go away.  It’s not like she’s moving across the country and we can call every day. It’s not like she’s moving up north for more reasonable weather and we can still text back and forth. Crap. No. It’s not like that at all.

As far as I know there’s no social media, telegraph, phone, wireless connection, garage code or front door that I can knock on to get in touch with her once she’s gone.

three drinks from sonic

(Photo credit: Rakka)

Then what?

I have no idea.

I don’t even want to go there, think that far ahead, or be that person.

I’m just going to stay in denial. Who says I can’t. No one, that’s who. I can pretend as long as I want that our friendship will last forever, that’s she’s always going to be there.

I’m going to pretend that we’ll keep getting diet cherry Cokes at Sonic for the rest of our lives, until we’re dragging our great-grandkids along for happy hour slushies and corn dogs.

You would, too.

Believe me. With a best friend like I have you would be in denial, too.

Categories: Death, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Don’t Walk Away

Original caption: Ne ties a friendship bracele...

I know more lonely people than I want to. I wish I had more time, more of me to go around to fill that gap in their life. Or better yet, I’d like to take on the role of matchmaker  in the friendship department.

You’d think with all the social media available people would feel more connected and less lonely. But the opposite seems true. People see the “friendships” and banter and simply feel more left out than ever. In fact, it seems to extend the junior high and high school drama into adulthood.

I think people forget that friendship is work. It requires something from both sides. Maybe we’ve all gotten a bit lazy, or too busy, or we’re shy, or we’re afraid of being hurt or judged or rejected, or whatever the excuse is and we fail to reach out. And we fail to accept the hand reaching toward us. You can’t get picky when it comes to friendship. There isn’t an ideal friend, there’s no soul mate of friendship. There are friends. They’ve got your back. That’s all that matters.

Forget “besties” and “BFF’s” and “friends forever.”  Those are a dime a dozen.

For real friendship that matters think “workhorse,” or “perseverance,” think “sacrifice.”

“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” — Jon Katz

There are literally millions of quotes out there about friendship. This one bangs the nail solidly. Friendship equals work! “Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired.”

Work + Sacrifice + Perseverance = Friendship

which translates into:

W + S + P = Not So Lonely

 

Friendship

Friendship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you ready to give up security? Are you willing to risk being hurt? Can you take the chance on relationships?

How much work are you able to put into a potential friendship? Can you do a daily phone call? Will you listen and not just expect to be listened to? Are you worth it, in your own eyes?

Can you keep trying even when the results aren’t the ideal you imagined? We’re all simply human after all. Can you resist the need to push away? Can you open your own door to whoever might be knocking?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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