Sunday, February 6, 2011
Going Away Party
I drove to the grocery store today, that most mundane of tasks. On the way I passed a teenage boy yawningly walking his dog, a few runners, children playing in the park. I passed a church where people stood in the door hugging and greeting each other, anticipating their spirits being lifted. The lines at the store were so long, people buying chips and beer and wings in preparation for the Super Bowl. I bought convenience foods and fruit and milk. Eggs and bread. Ho hum.
Meanwhile my friend is dying.
We went to see her today. At her house, she was holding court. She is always the person living life to the fullest. When my husband's band plays, it's not a party until she runs into the room and on the dance floor where she and her husband dance with proverbial wild abandon until the last song plays. She rides horses, reads book after book, sails and sits on the porch of her beach house. On New Year's Eve we are among a tableful of guests that she treats to a catered dinner. At midnight we all kiss each other on the lips and laugh and dance.
I shared with her daughter that my mom died when I was young too, and she said, "Yeah, we've been robbed." I remember her son, one of my favorite children in Mother's Morning Out. My friend would drop him off with a huge hug and kiss and let him know she'd be back soon. He would sit quietly for a few minutes, not crying, but tears falling down his cheeks. God he loves his mama.
Over the course of her illness, I've sent her many cards, called and emailed. I didn't realize how she'd come to expect this reaching out until she told me the other day that she was upset when she didn't hear from me "on Monday". Turns out I'd inadvertently gotten in touch most Mondays. And luckily for both of us, the mail had come late Monday, and one of my cards was in the mail. It mattered, she said in her email to me that night.
I've cried as much in the past eight months as I've cried as an adult. My heart is breaking that I'm losing this dearest of friends. I don't think the party can go on without her.