Friday, June 29, 2018

Last words

"You walk for me, I'll sleep for you."

Those were almost the last words from my friend. I was exhausted from radiation, and she was recovering from a fall.

Behind those words were almost 50 years of friendship, going back to high school when the same boy was trying to date both us. We were always grateful to him for being the catalyst of our friendship that saw us through the high and low points of our lives.

Her parents became substitute parents. Her father never let a father-daughter event go by without making sure he took both of us. He cheered me on in my adventures "I never thought a little girl from Reading, like you would travel the world." We were penpals. Her mother delighted in my daughter.

There was nothing I couldn't tell her and I believe vice versa.

No matter how dire our situation, somehow we were able to find the strength to laugh and in the laughter found the strength to go on.

At one point when things had been bad for both of us and a few weeks went by without talking she called and said, "I'm not just a FOUL weather friend, you know."

She was right. Our friendship was much more than helping each other in bad times.

It was dinners in Harvard Square, an impossible calculable number of hours on the telephone, time with her family in Maine walking and eating blackberries in a scene that would have qualified for an ad for any woman's product.

It was her teaching my daughter needlework, starting a life-long hobby.

It was a visit to Geneva.

It was getting potato sticks in the mail.

It was celebrating the good things making us foul and fair weather friends, an all-weather friendship.

We joked we were twins born from separate wombs.

When her partner called to tell me she hadn't survived surgery some light in me died too. The problem with losing a close friend with whom you can share everything, you can't share the loss of that friend with them.

I don't know why, for some reason, despite the years that have gone by, I miss her more today.

There is comfort in knowing the last years of her life brought her so much happiness as it has mine.

I can still imagine her making my feeling of loss a joke. Before the day is out, I must laugh in her memory. She'd like that.

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