Remembering


It's been a hard week. This whole life and death thing just brings me waaay down. Reminds me very much of my own mortality, makes this end we all reach at one time or another very real. And reminds me of my failure to keep in touch with people. A major failure, I might add.

This past week, I've had two people pass away who were very close to me. Two women, one young, one old. Both unique, and vital, and wonderful in their own ways.

Last Saturday, the wife of one of my best friends passed away. Jeri was only 51 when she finally succumbed to her illness. She didn't have an easy life, having been ill for most of it. And as she progressively got worse, her illness took its toll, not only on her, but on her husband, one of my best friends.

Jeri was so fortunate to have a husband like him. He never left her side, and he willingly put his life on hold for hers. He is the husband any woman would be lucky to have. I know that many people, men and women alike, would not have made the colossal commitment this man made to his wife. For better or worse weren't just words to him. He's the real deal. And I am honoured to know him.

Jeri certainly didn't ask for the life she was given, and it was obviously so very hard for her as she struggled through years of feeling worse and worse, slowly losing all independence and control of herself. It was so hard for her, and just as hard (if not, sometimes much harder) on her husband.

Jeri's funeral takes place this Friday, and of course I'll be there. I hope she's now at peace.

I also found out early Tuesday that one of our oldest and dearest family friends passed away. I don't have many details of what happened yet, but I do know she was very ill for only a short while, although she suffered from dementia for the past few years.

This woman, her name was Mary, was like a mother to me when I was young. She was always there for me when no one else was. Our families grew up together, helped each other out whenever needed, and were more like family than friends.

When my mother left us, and my father worked all hours to make ends meet, and I was scared because I was young and at home alone, she would drop whatever she was doing and come over to keep me company. She would often come over for visits and she always had a little something for me, often sour cherry candies or melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. She always had a smile on her face, a joke to tell, and a hug. And I was always looking for hugs.

She came over to Canada with my father, and she and her husband (who passed away many years ago) were the closest of friends for many decades. Her home was my home.

I knew she had gone to a nursing home and no longer remembered anyone, including her very devoted daughter, who kept a daily vigil by her side, despite the fact that Mary rarely recognized her any longer.

And I kept making plans to go visit her, regardless of the fact that she wouldn't remember me. But I never did. And now it's too late.

Will I ever learn?

I justify my actions (or lack thereof) by saying that at least I visited Jeri one last time before her passing. However, she was already unconscious and unaware. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Always the old excuse, I'm too busy, I'll go tomorrow, I can't go today because the weather's terrible, or I'm so busy with the children...No reason really good enough.

I'm not a religious person, but I am spiritual, and although I don't claim to know what goes on after our hearts stop beating, I do believe we live on in some way. It may be just in the hearts and minds of those left behind, but I think there's more to it than that. There has to be. Doesn't there?

But what I do know is that what is most important is treating everyone we know and love, as well as the strangers we meet, with compassion, respect and love, and to remind them often that we haven't forgotten them, that we care, and that we're there for them if they ever need us, even if it's just to hold a hand and cry.

What's important is remembering not to be harsh with our words, to remember that everyone has feelings that can be hurt, and that showing someone we care costs nothing, and is priceless.

I hope I can now be a better person, a better friend, and I wish I could thank these two beautiful women for helping me remember.


Comments

Life is so ephemeral and sad sometimes. Good wishes to you.
Shana said…
Sorry for you losses
Your second last paragraph is so true. Thanks
nikkicrumpet said…
I'm sorry for your losses...so much to handle in such a short time. It sounds like you were blessed to have them both in your life...so that's a good thing to hold on to.
Tenakim said…
Sorry for your losses- what a difficult week. Don't be too hard on yourself- sounds like you've learned a wonderful lesson and I'm sure they both knew how much they were appreciated!
Bobby's Dream said…
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of these two wonderful ladies. I am more sorry about the way you are feeling now. Don't beat yourself up. We all wish we could change things but the only thing we can change is how we move forward. You are on the right track.
Quirkyloon said…
"I hope I can now be a better person, a better friend, and I wish I could thank these two beautiful women for helping me remember."

I think you just did Mary. :)

My heart goes out to you.
CaJoh said…
No matter what you do, do not regret what you did or did not do. The important thing is that you remember them and that they are a part of your life. Your feelings for them will still emanate and ring true regardless of their last days.
Baba said…
So sorry for your losses. I have been there recently myself, but now have twin grand-neices so life does continue. Thanks for stopping in at Babas Farm Life and commenting. It meant a lot to me.
~*Jobthingy*~ said…
*hugs* i am sorry to hear about this.
Yaya said…
This is a rough week for you. I know what you mean, when someone you know passes away it's like life stops and you re-evaluate everything.
Mommy In Pink said…
Oh my goodness! I am truly sorry for your losses! I wish you the best!
3 Bay B Chicks said…
I am so, so sorry to read about the loss that you suffered this week, Mary. You will have the funeral tomorrow. I will be thinking of you.

Your words, like always, are a wonderful reminder to me to evaluate the things I take for granted a bit more closely.

-Francesca
Manic Mom said…
I feel you & I have some things in common. Not a good thing, but we could make it a good thing. I love your writing style, I've been reading your past several posts. I look forward to knowing you better. And thank you for stopping by my Blog. Please stop by any time.
Ann's Rants said…
Sorry for your losses. Thanks for the reminder of mindfulness and what is really important. Thanks for reading my blog.

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