Thursday, January 10, 2008

Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
I'm home now, but not really "back" yet. I'm still "there" in a lot of ways. I'm also still in touch with her family. I know I didn't write much about the other people I was around the past couple of weeks. That's primarily out of respect for their privacy. I also didn't go into a lot of detail about what was going on emotionally for me, nor did I tell you a lot about my friend. Both of those things are difficult for me to write about, but I'm going to try to do the latter below.
  • She was in her 40s.
  • She didn't like computers, cell phones, or technology. If it were up to her we'd probably all be using carrier pigeons. ;)
  • Despite her dislike of electronics, she could talk on the phone for hours.
  • She sent out hand written cards for pretty much every occasion. Not just for birthdays and Christmas, but also for Halloween, Valentine's Day, Easter, Spring, Fall... I got about 6 to 8 cards a year from her. And I'm not the only one. She did this for everybody.
  • She loved antiques and her home was filled with them. -And if you ever called any of them "chatchkas" or "nick nacks" you could be due for a beheading!
  • She loved decorating her home to the hilt for every holiday or season. Each room in her house had a different theme.
  • She wanted everything she did for her friends to be special, and put a lot of time and energy into details, like the cards she picked to send, and the numerous details of the annual parties she'd throw. She didn't want people to bring food or help with her parties in any way because she wanted the parties to be her gift to her friends. One year when she was thinking about food for her party (there were always at least 20 different kinds of foods), she told me she was concerned about serving the same o'le things, because people might get bored with the food choices or think she didn't care. -The same twenty different kinds of foods! I told her if anything, people looked forward to some of those foods every year and considered them to be part of the tradition -because we did!
  • She loved romance, lace, victorian things, fairies, fantasy, renaissance festivals, theatre, and rock music. She loved hand made items, especially from good friends. She loved the arts.
  • In the months prior to her hip surgery, she told me she wasn't going to visit the renaissance festivals she loved so much because she was embarrassed to be seen in a wheelchair. I told her that friends who didn't know about her hip might be taken aback, but everyone who did know would be thrilled to see her no matter how she arrived. I also told her that strangers wouldn't care one way or the other, but if it really bothered her, we could decorate a wheelchair like a float so it could look like she was a fairy riding a dragon, or a princess sitting on a cloud. Then nobody would feel sorry for her. They'd think she was the coolest person at the faire! She didn't go for this, but I thought it was a brilliant idea ;)
  • She was very short, but she towered over "little people" and would glare down at them angrily if they came to her door trying to get her to join one of their organizations.
  • Because of her size, a good friend of hers once told his kids that she was the tooth fairy. She found out about this and every time one of them ran up to her excitedly asking tooth fairy questions she'd walk over to their father and whack him! According to him, his son once asked her: "How did you get to our house last night if you don't have any wings?" and she replied "I took the damn bus!" (Then whacked the father again!)
  • She worried about her mortality at times. She told me that when she died, she didn't want people to be sad and depressed. She wanted them to celebrate. She wanted everyone to throw a big party with balloons and streamers and music, to celebrate her life and not think about her death. She wanted people to remember her the way she was when she was alive.
  • She had a great laugh.
  • She laughed a lot.
To those of you who have read these past few entries, thank you. I appreciate your "listening."



Hillary said...

She sounds like a wonderful person, Melissa. I've been reading your posts - what a sad, sad story. It's especially hard when it is so sudden. YOu are a wonderful friend to swoop in and take care of business for her and her family members.

I'll be praying for her family and for you that God grants you peace as you grieve.

MP said...

She was a very very lucky person to have such wonderful friends and family. She sounds like a hoot..and her parties sound like a blast!! Again I am SO sorry for your loss...
Sometimes blogging can be such a great place to throw out your feelings..that's what we're all here laugh at your funny stuff (especially your conversations) and to listen when you are hurt.. HUGS...

storyteller said...

Losing friends and loved ones to death, especially at such a young age, leaves us filled with wide-ranging emotions, unanswered questions and a host of frustrations. Sharing your journey here with us may help you work through some of those. This latest post illustrates your friend's life beautifully and offers us a glimpse of what a loss her passing generated. I'm sure (even though she didn't like technology) she's smiling as you do what you do best ... remembering the joys of your friendship as you do.
Hugs and blessings,

Mac and Cheese said...

I know it isn't a party with balloons and streamers, but this post IS a celebration of your friend's life, as I can get a feel for what an amazing person she was. Your friend would approve, despite the internet factor.

momof3gr8kids said...

Sorry I'm so late with catching up. She sounds like an amazing woman, and not only were you blessed for knowing her, I can't help but think she felt blessed to have you as a friend, too.

Melissa said...

Thank you, everyone, for reading these, and for taking the time to get to know "her" a little bit in this last one. I have really appreciated all your comments.

I feel like I should say more, but really, the only thing that comes to my mind right now is "Thank you."

Rebecca said...

This was very lovingly shared. I too am very sorry for your loss. Your friend's family is indeed very blessed to have you for a friend. From the website to the white bear to the footwork to simply being there, you showed yourself to be the best of friends. What a marvelously caring and sympathetic individual you are, too.

Funeral Home + Bar? YES. Yesyesyesyes. Last summer the mother of a dear friend died of cancer. It was fast -- maybe 5 weeks after diagnosis. At the wake, I had wanted to take some bottles of water for our friends and their siblings. When we got there, half-jokingly one said "Well, I'd really prefer scotch..." so, we dutifully went looking.

Here's what we discovered: that Sobe green tea is exactly the same color as one of the popular brands of pre-mixed margaritas. So that's what we got, and emptied the tea into a large thermos we had in the car. With a bit of "nudge, nudge" warning, we let the recipients know that it wasn't actually tea in the bottles. We figured if they spewed fully alcohol-loaded margaritas in the funeral home, heads just might roll, and there would be more funerals.

Not an open bar, but it helped the folk that needed the most help.

I hope your posting about the whole experience has helped you. I hope knowing that we all do care also helps.

Melissa said...

Rebecca, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your comment. Thank you very much. -And I'll keep the Sobe Green Tea bottles in mind for the future! ;)