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.





50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Kate. I'm so sorry for your loss. Just as we know our furry friends who go first are waiting at the Rainbow Bridge, she will be waiting for you along with your husband. Take care of yourself. Cordella

Nate said...

Dear Kate,
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I can understand how you feel as I also lost some people near to my heart. I also believe in these signs, and I know she'll send you one to make you smile. She'll always be there in your heart and in everything you see. Whenever you see a flower she loved she'll be there and also when your book will be released tomorrow, I think she'll be looking proudly down from heaven. I'm sending you a big big hug from Germany.

Elaine said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Kate.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I'm so sorry your lost your dear, friend. ((((((((((((((( U )))))))))))))))

Kim Niloff said...

I never know what to say when a person loses someone close. It's a loss that no one can really understand. I am not going to say sorry for your loss but congratulations for knowing someone So AMAZING and having the chance to be a part of her life. She is still a part of your life as I'm sure she is looking down on you and is going to give you signs to get you through your loss of her. I hope this makes scence. Maybe bring tomatoes to someone who you think is going through a loss in her honor. It will brighten their day too and they will remember you as you honor memories of her.

Zena Weldon said...

I can't imagine your loss. Each one is different as each relationship is different. I'm glad you had such a long one with your dear friend. I believe in signs. My grandfather and mother had a pact that whoever died first would return and give the other a sign. My mom was disappointed that there was no sign. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I heard my grandfather's shuffling walk down the bedroom hallway the day after he died because she wanted to be the one. May you receive your sign. With a gentle hug, Zena

mary kennedy said...

So sad to hear this, so sorry for your loss. Hugs and good thoughts!

Melanie Backus said...

Oh Kate, I am so sorry that your dear friend is gone. You have suffered terrible losses and through those losses, it is a blessing that we can still have those loves in our heart. They are never forgotten and those signs will come.

You and I share a birthday so know that this year with your dear friend not there, I will think of you.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Madison Sevier said...

I'm so sorry for your loss ♡ What an amazing friendship you had. Though your friend is fone, it makes my heart happy to know you had such a wonderful gift in each other.
Sending you love and hugs ♡

Shirley Seebeck said...

Kim, what an amazing way to think. I lost my husband last year and I could feel everyone's awkwardness. They want to say SOMEthing, they need to say something. Congratulating a person is an amazing thing

Karen in Ohio said...

What a blessing, to have had such a friend, Kate. One who helped you through the most difficult transition of your life, with you every step, even to the point of moving to a new neighborhood with you. That is exceedingly rare, and pretty darned wonderful. I'm confident that she is still there with you, just as your husband is, now in a different way.

Warmest hugs, and deepest condolences, my dear.

Caroline said...

I know the pain of losing both my parents and a good friend in the Pentagon on 9/11 (which was a horror in and of itself). But only my sister has lost her best friend to something similar to that which took your friend. I will keep you in my prayers, Kate, and continue to pray for my best friend from my college days (who is currently a breast cancer survivor). I can only be thankful for those people who have made an impact on my life and know that I will see them again someday. :) <3

Alison Marable said...

Thank you for sharing this personal experience. She sounds like an amazing friend. I am glad you described how wonderful she was!
I agree with you - grief lasts a lifetime and it is not something we "get over". I work at an organization that focuses on grief support following the death of a significant person.
I'll be thinking of you as you go home to attend the funeral. Sending hugs.

Kate Collins said...

Thank you, Melanie. Now I will think of you on our birthday, too!

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Karen. We had, and still have, I'm sure, a close bond. I know she'll leave a sign when she knows I'll see and understand it.

Kate Collins said...

You're right, Caroline. It's so comforting to know that they are still with us and that we'll be laughing and dancing and playing together one day. And by the way, my friend's name was Carolyn.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Alison. You are an amazing person for working in such a worthwhile organization. God bless you and everyone else who does this important work.

Kate Collins said...

Danke, Nate, for your kind words.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Lorraine.

Kate Collins said...

That's such a touching story, Zena. Thank you for sharing.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Mary.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Cordella. We'll both have a lot of fur babies waiting there, won't we?

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Elaine.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Madison. We both felt that our friendship was a gift from God.

Liz C said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. As someone much wiser than me wrote, you don't get over it, you learn to go on, both in spite of and because of your loss. Friend are the family we chose for ourselves - and those bonds are never really broken. She will always be a part of you, and eventually the smiles will win out over the tears. My deepest condolences.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

What a sad loss Kate. Your post brought tears to my eyes. You are right. We don't get over losing people we love. Despite our lasting grief, at least death can't steal our memories of these wonderful people in happier times. XO

Rachelle21 said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful neighbor. I had two neighbors move to Assisted Living, when Mary died, it felt like a big loss even though we were not as close as you were. I have been looking at the snow outside, wondering how to get to a viewing for a dear friend's husband. I hope your trip home is easier. Sending condolences.

Leann Sweeney said...

I am so very sorry, Kate. your blog was a wonderful tribute to your friend.

lisa said...

My deepest condolences. I have lost too many good friends also. One is like yours, she lived across the street and helped me raise my girls. Now I can't go to her and talk about my daughter facing her cancer. I can talk to her husband but it's just not the same.

ezreader said...

Kate, what you wrote left me in tears. I was beautiful. I believe you will receive signs from her. I've heard loved one will visit us I our dreams. I dream of my mother sometimes. Hugs. Kathy Meik

colodreamer said...

I am so sorry that you lost someone so dear to you. Death is something we try so hard to understand, buy our minds just don't seem capable of wrapping around it. The hardest part is not being able to talk, laugh, and cry together. My prayers are with you and her family at this dark time. I too believe in signs from the other side, and I pray yours comes soon and does make you smile.

Dana said...

My heart aches for you. I hope you'll receive a sign very soon - I believe in them too. God bless and lift you, her family, and friends up during this difficult time.

Maggie Sefton said...

Kate---I'm so sorry you lost your dear friend. That was a beautiful tribute to her. And, I definitely believe you will receive a sign from her. Blessings.

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I'm so sorry for your lost Kate. I too know what it is like to loose a husband. I do believe in signs. So watch and listen for one.

Ferne Knauss said...

I'm so very sorry to learn of the loss of your husband and now of your dearest friend. My deepest sympathy to you. Thank you for sharing this very personal post. It is truly a tribute to how much you loved them both! <3

Anonymous said...

There are no words,, so just thoughts and prayers for you. One day at a time
Diane

Grandma Cootie said...

So, so sorry for your loss. I have found comfort too in knowing we will see them again and that they will send us a sign, and that they are not alone. When we lost our youngest daughter at age 21 it helped to think she was with her goofy grandma (my mom) who she so loved, and could also hang out with Jim Henson or Princess Di or Marilyn Monroe. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Shirley: thank the Lord I still have my hubby (75) but I lost my Dad,Mom, and only sister within 18 months; it is devastating. I'm still locked in my grief, but am finally starting to acknowledge that I have to move on. I rejoice each day that I had them in my life, and I know you will too. Take care, and know that we all love you and look forward to each new book! Paula Senn

Kate Collins said...

Thank you, Ferne.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Liz. That was beautifully said.

Dru said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Kate Collins said...

Talk to her, Lisa. I'll bet she will give you a sign she hears. My husband always lets me know he's around. I'm sure my dear friend will soon, too. It's only her third day in heaven. She's probably still settling in. ;-)

Kate Collins said...

Thank you. That was a beautiful sentiment.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

I came to your blog because of Nancy LiPetri's comment about my own blog. Yes, we are very similar. I lost such a friend last May and just received my sign recently, which I wrote about on my blog at www.jtzortman.wordpress.com. You may want to read it. I also lost my brother 34 years ago today and my grandson (age 21) in 2010. But you are right, this is a different kind of grief. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Duffy Brown said...

I don’t think you ever get over a loss of a loved you but as the years pass you learn to work it into your life and…somehow…go on. I am so very very sorry. Know I’m thinking of you. Hugs, Duffy

Anonymous said...

I, too am sorry for your loss of such a close friend. You are in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Losing a close friend is so very sad and difficult. Sending you comforting thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you a grand and peace-filled book launch, knowing your friend is still right there with you. Sorry for your terrible loss, Kate.

Debbie S said...

So sorry for your loss, hang onto those memories of a wonderful woman who touched your life so deeply, it's rare to meet someone like that.

Annette N said...

Kate, I wrote a truly lovely thoughtful post yesterday, and must have hit the wrong button cause it disappered. So, I will say - remember the blessing of sharing time with her. That will be some comfort. I am sorry for your loss, but in awe of the love the two of you got to share with one another. Take care. May God bless you.