Sunday, December 16, 2007

gone

She was only 42 and she's gone.

We met more than 10 years ago and have been like sisters since.

Seven years ago, we were having dinner and her laughter raised my heart. I remember the conversation turning to her recent engagement to her long-time boyfriend and her doubts about him. She sadly told me, "I don't see marriage in my future." I told her it was, that she just hadn't met him yet. The conversation moved on and we spent the rest of the evening in fits of laughter and sillyness as only women can do.

She broke up with him a week later, and told me that he wasn't the man for her. She wasn't ready to spend her life with someone she wasn't certain about.

She put her energy into her work, and relished in spending time with her family and friends. She always made time for her friends. We were her family too.

Six years ago, she was my rock as I was dealt a blow about my health, and helped me realize that "everyone has something" and that this would only make me stronger.

She was there for her mom as she fought cancer and won. She never waivered, just remained the strength that her mom needed, only leaning on us when she felt she needed us.

Five years ago she introduced me to her new love -- and a doctor at that! Seeing the adoring look in his eyes, I knew he was the one. He treated her like a china doll and doted on her every move.

Three years ago she got engaged to this man of her dreams. Two completely different cultures melding into one, ready to spend the rest of their lives together.

A few months after she announced her engagement, I did too. We we the happiest women around, two friends who had found their lifemates.

Two years ago she was convinced something was wrong with her because she "just wasn't feeling right." Doctor visit after doctor visit, trips to non-conventional doctors and nothing. They all made her feel like a hypochondriac. Her future father-in-law (also a doctor) pulled some strings and got her in with a specialist. It was identified: leukemia.

When we asked what we could do to help, she asked for our prayers and mentioned she needed healthy blood. Both my future husband and I were matches to her blood type; we immediately made appointments at Sloan Kettering to donate for her. She was floored that we would travel 2 hours to do this; her husband even called us to thank us. For us it was a no-brainer -- a friend needed help and it was the least we could do.

She and her love postponed their wedding 2 times so that she could get her treatment.

After 9 months, she was in remission.

Last year she got married. One month later I did too. We were at each others' weddings and experiencing the happiest days of our lives.

Earlier this year the leukemia raised its ugly head again. The doctors told her that her only option was a bone marrow donor. Her brother and parents were tested but they weren't a strong enough match. Miraculously, someone somewhere had donated their child's umbilical cord and the fresh, pure blood was a perfect match. She was on cloud 9.

In July my husband and I had dinner with my friend and her husband and laughed. We spoke little about the difficult time she was going to be enduring in just a few days but she was looking forward to the transfusion since it could possibly allow her to live. She wasn't fooling herself; she knew it would be very hard but she wanted and needed to do it.

That was the last time we saw her alive. She was laughing and loving life.

Over the next few weeks we spoke through email and on the phone then her strength dwindled and we heard from her husband and family.

On October 19 I received a call from her husband that she died.

On October 21, our first anniversary, we spent the day at her wake.

It broke my heart to see how devastated and cheated her husband was. But it gave me strength to hear him say that he was so lucky to have known and loved her.

Taking my cue from his words, I now realize that though she's gone, I am the lucky one. I'm the one who was fortunate to have had her in my life. It was her energy, her positive look on life and her friendship and love that makes me a better person. She will always be a part of my life and I cannot thank her enough for that.

It's only been 2 months since she's gone and already I miss her so much.

3 Comments:

Blogger yellowdog granny said...

that broke my heart..I'm so sorry you lost your friend..but so happy that you had her in your life at all...js

11:03 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

What a beautiful post. I am so sorry for your loss.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Kat said...

This is a beautiful, heartwarming post. I am so sorry for your loss. Your friend would surely be proud to know how lovingly you remember her. Hold your memories near and dear to your heart. They can never be taken from you.

11:22 PM  

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