The following post was written two years ago, when I learned that a close friend of mine was dying. I still struggle with accepting the fact that she is gone, that I can’t hear her laugh and take in the calm she always brought with her when she walked into a room. Acceptance of losing friends is something new to me, I suppose as we age it is to be expected, but she was only 66. A year later I lost another friend suddenly- also 67 years old. Her refrain whenever I would see her was “it’s all good”- we’re here aren’t we?” I am but it it is not the same here without you. We are forced to accept, there is no choice, but it changes us, leaves us with an empty place that can’t be filled.
Last Thursday my friend was told by her Doctor, “there is nothing more we can do.” She had been in remission for three years, her recurrence happening just 6 months ago. Her descent into this new reality quicker than any of us, me, her friends, her family, could believe. I am fortunate to never have lost a friend up until now, but am finding I am still in a state of disbelief. It is impossible for me to think that this person whom I have known for ten years, who I see on a regular basis, play Mah Jongg with every week, share in her joys with, who is calm of nature, who lets things roll of her back and doesn’t sweat the small stuff, who is sensitive and kind, who is my friend, will no longer be here. Her laughter silenced, her singing during our Mah Jongg games, her easy laugh no longer heard.
We sat together yesterday, me and three other friends, leaving her room after she fell asleep, to talk and remember happier times together. The trips abroad, grandchildren being born, her love of hiking. The conversation turned to gravesites and headstones, as if we were talking about some abstract concept, not our friend’s impending death. All part of the process I suppose, of acceptance of something none of us want to have to accept. Of something thrust upon us, being forced on us to have to face. Unwilling to have to accept, but left with no other choice.