Monday, February 2, 2015

The Death of a Friend

by Kate Collins


I’ve been through one of the most profound losses a person can go through – the loss of my husband. The grief of losing someone that close – husband or child – cannot be described. It is something one never “gets over.” It is as permanent as a scar across one’s heart.  But as I write this, I am mourning a different kind of loss. A longtime friend, a woman who knew my husband and saw me through my grief, has just passed away.

She lived in the house next door to me throughout my marriage, and after my husband died and I moved to a condominium community, she did, too, buying the lot next to mine. Her birthday was next to mine, too. She was August 6th and I was the 7th. We were a year and a day apart, one house apart, and now, after a quick battle with cancer, she is a world apart.

No more will I dash from my garage to hers to bring her tomatoes from my garden. No longer will she be there when I need company after a long day of writing. We hugged when I left for Florida just a few short weeks ago. She had finished her rounds of chemotherapy and was hoping her tests results would be wonderful. She was looking forward to my new book being released tomorrow. We would have celebrated together.

It was not to be. Despite the treatments, the cancer went to her brain. Within one week of finding out, she was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. Now I’m going home to her funeral and I can’t wrap my mind around it. She should be there, right next door, a big smile on her face, waiting for a hug.

It’s a different kind of grief but it’s still sharp and painful. I’m waiting for a sign from her. We both believe in them. I receive them still from my husband and she received them from her mother who also recently passed away. I don’t know what the sign will be, but I know it will make me smile because she made me smile. She was brave despite her prognosis. It was my honor to be her friend and I will miss her dearly.