A friend of mine died yesterday. We had sort of gone our separate ways the last couple of years, but certainly remained friends. We were the same age. We both married older guys. We had music in common – we were both involved with the music festival and the local annual Christmas concert, and were both accompanists at our respective places of worship. Her middle child is the same age as Derek. She taught both Derek and Stephen playschool, and also taught Adam and Stephen highschool English. Just a whole lot of connections.
She was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, and cancer about two years ago. She has bravely struggled through pain and illness and treatments and uncertainty. They were very private about the details, mostly to protect their children from worry and small-town speculation, I think. That was hard for many of us to accept, as we wanted to help and support them and be involved. But that was the path they chose, and we respected that. So although we knew the prognosis was not good, the news of her death still came as somewhat of a shock. I felt like a zombie yesterday, going through the motions but not really “there”. Helpless and empty are two words that come to mind. Even Derek was quieter than usual, saying only that he can’t imagine what they are going through. Then Stephen said that his class was re-thinking the Grade 10 initiation planned for Saturday so that they could attend the funeral. That’s when the tears started. Mine, I mean. I’ve always had a fairly strong faith, but it’s hard to see a “grand design” when three children are going to grow up without their mother’s physical presence. When a husband will grieve the relationship he had and now face a lonely future. When a father, who lost his wife at a young age, will now bury his only daughter. When a community will suffer a permanent void. One really just wonders why.
Oh, I know she is in a better place. I truly believe that. But I’m sad. Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you.