Six weeks ago today was October 6th. Do you remember what you were doing? What you were planning, worrying about, hoping for, dreaming? Six weeks ago I know what my mind was working on....Ubaldo was moving in and I was going through stuff. Tossing stuff, finding new places for stuff and making "important" decisions about stuff. I was "directing traffic" with our handyman and generally involved in me and my comfort. Making room for more stuff, for Ubaldo's cooking needs, for Jed's wheelchair needs and being rather self absorbed.
Six weeks ago most of us were doing that very thing. Taking care of the business of living. But, six weeks ago Ubaldo's best friend checked into the hospital and last Sunday she died.
I've tried to think of what I can do for him, how we can help him through his shocking grief. I've decided to write this in memory of his friend, Susan, and in honor of him, our caregiver, and friend.
Life is a valuable thing. But life with a dear friend is worth living. One who makes you laugh, who can love you in spite of who you really are, who can tell you when you're being stupid, hug you when you're scared, and who is there for you, whether you need onions chopped, tears dried, or battles fought.
I have a rather casual saying referring to important people in my life. "They just dropped out of heaven." But in that casualness is the recognition that God sends these people to us. I don't understand why they are taken away and I've reconciled myself to knowing there is no way to understand, "for now we see in a mirror dimly..." There's just stuff we will never understand.
But what I do know is that dear friends that have been part of my life have molded me, made me better than I would have been without them, and filled me completely; made my life whole.
That's what Susan did for Ubaldo and he for her. They were accidental best friends, but 15 years later knew they were each other's brother and sister. Friends for life. Soul mates.
Six weeks from today will be December 30th. The trapping of the holidays will be behind us, the stuff of life will be organized once again from one season to another and our friends will have carried us through.
I am so sorry for Ubaldo's loss. Six weeks isn't long to prepare for the emptiness that would follow, the hole in his heart. Whether it's 6 minutes, 6 hours, 6 days, weeks or years, it's not long enough. We just want our best friends to always be there, because we need them to be complete.
My Grandma lived to be 99 years old. I asked her what was difficult about growing old. She said, "there's nothing hard about it, except you outlive all your friends and that gets lonely." You don't have to live to be 99 to learn that lesson. When your friend die before you, it is lonely.
It's almost Thanksgiving. Take a moment to be thankful for those special people who've made you whole. Jed and I are overwhelmed and awed by the friends we have been blessed with. Susan's death has made us aware.
We are thankful for Ubaldo. He has enriched our lives, turned our hopelessness into laughter and joy, lifted our burdens and filled us with genuine kindness. Susan was very lucky to have his friendship for so many years.