Friday, March 23, 2012

This is a story of the loss of a great friend and it's ramifications upon my life.

It's been seven years since I lost my best friend, yet grief lingers

This night my heart is heavy with the sadness. It is a little after midnight, so it is already one year to the day that my best freind lost her year-long battle with bone and lung cancer. In this year I have not yet cried for her. I cried throughout her illness, but her death has locked my tears in a place deep within my soul. I miss her. She was my alter ego, the better half of me. She listened, even throughout her painful ordeal, while I complained. Oh yes, I am a complainer. It makes me feel good to complain in the same way that moaning when sick makes one feel better.She loved people and her Greek heritage seemed more like Jewish as she was quite a yenta and a gossip as well--not one to carry tales, except to me, but she had a knack for knowing everything that went on in the neighborhood. It amazed me, as I lived across from her and I never knew anything.We did not speak of her illness overmuch, as we both knew the ramifications.

I tried to keep our relationship as normal as possible with no changes. Sometimes it was hard and she would vent her anger, sorrow, fear. Still, we both awaited a miracle. I'd never lost a friend before to a disease like this and did not know what to do, how to react or what to say. So I kept our relationship as it had been--more about me. She seemed to need that. It was ironic that this special woman never missed a doctor's appointment, a pap, a mamo, and when she was sick, she went for extensive tests. She had had enough MRIs to magnetize her for life. But a day came, in late August, when a strange and fierce pain attacked her buttocks. It was months before they diagnosed the bone cancer, But we both knew, just never called it by name. She ended up in the hospital many times and right before the last visit, I had found a maverick doctor who was curing lost causes. She was excited and made the appointment from the hospital to see him. He was a doctor who "thought outside the box," and cases of pancreactic and lung and brain cancer walked out of his office cured. Her own doctor, also Greek and a woman, I will not malign here, but let it be said, few patients of hers lived to praise her. I begged my friend, the last time she was hospitalized for blood clots in her arms, to get out of there and not let anyone touch her until she saw the new doctor. "Just one bout of radiation," she said, "and I will go home." She did, but only for a day. The technicians who did the radiation singed or burned off something in her heart or lungs and she could not breathe. The fire department raced to her home and took her back to the hospital where she struggled to breathe for four days. I pleaded to Heaven for her safe return. it was not meant to be. She died--sufficated, this very day, one year ago.

It is said she died with a smile upon her face. I like to think that is true .Her beloved husband Bobby, who lived for her, died two days after her. He had said and meant it, that he could not live withour her. They called it a massive heart attack, but his heart had been checked out recently and was fine. He died of a broken heart. The viewing held two caskets head to head, and I remembered her saying how she wanted to be laid out in all her finery, made up and dressed in that flashy way she had that was chic, almost bordering on flashy. She was gorgeous. Humor rears it's mischievous head at the most inappropriate times. My daughters and I ordered her a special flower arrangement, asking them to make it focus on gardening, as she was a wonderful gardener and it was her pleasure in life. My family walked into the funeral home and there in the background, standing out like a sore green thumb among expensive lavish floral arrangements was ours. It had a long green regular size garden rake sticking through the flowers, looking like an ad for a Home Depot Store. My one son-in-law sat down and said, "Who in the world ordered that ?". . . and then said, "Oh no, tell me it isn't so." My friend was surely laughing hysterically on whatever plane she was on, at that sight. Soon most of us were, torn between embarrassment and hysteria. We had to leave the room. At our request, the funeral director removed it that night before the funeral, although he noted that he thought it was very nice.

This day she died, one year ago. We shared twenty-three years of friendship and love. She went with my daughters and I to healing masses and was surrounded by the scent of roses, from Ste.Theresa or the Holy spirit, which stayed with her until her death. It does not ease my pain, but she found a new and profound closeness to her Creator during this illness and I know she is happy and safe, back Home. She has come to me in dreams and I have felt her warm hugs as she pulls away and says she has to go. It comforts me and lets me know that she is alive and well. Yet the void of her passing is a thing alive, that never grants me peace. Priss, raise Hell in Heaven, my beloved friend and be at the end of the tunnel, one day, waiting for me.


  1. Very touching post, Micki. Death is never easy and the emptiness is not quickly overcome. I pray you will find another friend not to take her place, but to fill some of the empty space her death has created. I love the unusual "floral" arrangement. It was probably worth the embarrassment just to give you freedom to laugh in the midst of your sorrow. Laughter is like medicine and can be very healing.

  2. Thanks, Diane, and you are so right. Priscilla and I laughed together for many years and I know she was laughing that night too. So glad you stopped by to visit.


  3. Although I don't know you, and didn't know your friend, your story touched me deeply. Int this short passage, I found laughter and tears, memories behind and dreams ahead. I love your garden arrangement, and wish I had had the courage to do something similar for my mother in law, who loved gardening and grew many of her own vegetables to save money. When she died, my husband and I ordered a "blanket of red roses" to cover her casket at her services. But the order was misplaced, and the roses never arrived, and I pictured her smiling her frugal "let's not go overboard" smile. She would have approved the garden arrangement, and so it might have arrived.

  4. Terry,
    Thanks for your kind comment. That is an amazing story about your mother-in-law and I would not be surprised if she somehow "masde it happen. I've seen too many supernatural things in my life to dougt the possibility.

  5. My Dear Micki,
    How I feel your pain. I had a very close and dear friend who walked with me through a very diffcult time in my young adulthood. She was there for me as I broke into the job world with no experience and she trained me. We had and still have a friendship that is eternal. I saw her kids play basketball,and graduate from college with honors. Two and a half weeks before she died, I talked with her and she said all was well. I told her I would call her back in a couple of weeks, but out of busyness, I put it off. The next phone call that I received from her son was that she had gone home into eternity. I hurt so much because I didn't know it was so bad. She said all was well and I thought she was getting better. She was a dear friend with a strong faith in God. Today, I know I will see her again and I believe that right now she is in heaven, rooting me on.
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it.

  6. Patricia,

    Thanks for sharing. sometimes it's true that we can choose our friends but not our relatives. Priss was the sister I never had, the non-judgmental friend that loved me without conditions. I miss the dreams I use to have where she visited me and hugged me--I would awaken still feeling her arms around me. She was wisdom, she was strength. There has never been anyone to replace her. I know you feel the same way about your friend. In the past two weeks I've lost two long time internet friends who, like you said, were doing okay and then died suddenly.I hate death and pray that those that we lose seem to them to be only gone for a little while, even as we miss them for a lifetime.

    Thanks, Micki