Woke up this morning and realized my friend was really gone. Not sure how to describe losing a good friend. I know we have all been to wakes of family members and the loss is hard. But to lose a friend feels different. Some friends you actually see more than family. Some friends you actually talk to more than family.
This has been a hard year especially because this is my second friend who died from cancer. My friend Brian passed last September and now my friend Annie this month. Both were true fighters. Fought more than I ever could.
I am just so sad and devastated. I look at the broken heart emoji and that is how I feel. Cracked and jagged. Not whole.
Brian lived a quiet life with family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, Brian enjoyed being with friends and was quite a good dancer, especially at weddings, after a few drinks. I’m saying quiet in the sense that I never heard him raise his voice in anger or hate. We had a Facebook competition each year to see who would get more birthday wishes. It was our thing.
Work and education were really important to him. We talked about the end being near and what he wanted to do with his time that was left; he didn’t answer take a vacation or buy a motorcycle and travel the world. He answered that he had wanted to get a certain certification for work or take a certain class. I was dumbfounded by his answer. Why wouldn’t he want to take one of my best friends, his wife, to Italy and enjoy a beautiful trip? Why wouldn’t he want to spend more time with his girls and all of us who loved him so much?
So what would you do if you were given time? We all think the nice trip to Hawaii and all, but I now kind of see where Brian was at. I’m not one to rush out to Hawaii. Spend time with family and friends yes, but I don’t need a big trip to do that. Maybe I’m not really a traveling kind of gal. I’m happy in my own circle in my own place. When I think about regrets, finishing college does come up. Would I take the time to do that? I have old friends that I would love to see more regularly and family I would like to know history from. I would set dates to talk and have ice cream and take lots of photos with those I love. I think I would also go back to those in my life where relationships didn’t work out and let them know that at one point they were very important to me and that I was glad they crossed my path. Even if they needed forgiveness I would grant that so I would be at peace with myself and my decisions.
My friend Annie started as a neighbor and immediately became one of my best friends. When Annie first got diagnosed I had panic attacks. I felt bad because I couldn’t even go visit without crying. I went to see a counselor for help getting past this. I needed to see my friend; I needed to be there for her. But I also needed to get over my fear of losing her or I would miss out on the time we had left.
Annie enjoyed every day of her life before she was sick and even after she was sick. She never complained and even called to check on me when I was under the weather. What kind of person does that? A special person that’s who. Annie and her husband were big volunteers. They helped so many people over the years and donated so much time and money to those who needed it. She never felt sorry for herself. Always would say someone had it so much worse.
Always wanting to know how she could make your life easier. When she received bad news from doctors she would call me to come over and sit with me and explain what was going on. I was her emotional friend she would say, so she had to do it gently. Again always putting someone else first.
In Brian’s death I was given time to say a proper good bye. He was in hospice and I was able to sit with him and talk to him. With Annie I was with her on Friday and she was doing great. Numbers were good and she was going to start a new chemo on Tuesday. On Wednesday at noon I received a call that she was gone. Just like that.
Not sure what way is easier. Both are tragic. I was able to tell Brian how I felt about him as a friend and how important he was in my life. With Annie I was not given that luxury. I hope she knew how much I loved her and valued our friendship. Maybe it was her decision because after all I was her emotional one. Maybe Annie in her last gesture spared me of seeing her pass.
All I know is that all those clichés are correct. Call that person when you are thinking of them. Say I love you when you feel it. Be kind to others. Live your life the way you want to live it. Find your passion. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Do whatever today and do it well.