My best friend is dying. We have been friends since fourth grade back in a small farming community called Petersburg, NE. We have hiked together, swam together, ice skated together, traveled together, been Maid of Honor at each other’s wedding. Her husband walked me down the aisle; my husband was best man at their wedding. I am Godmother to her youngest son and she is Godmother to my oldest daughter. Our children grew up staying at each other’s house so often sometimes we lost track of belonged to who. My son was her son’s best friend. They spent many weekends together. My son was given a large turtle and he named it “Woody” after his best friend. One day he came home after a weekend with his best friend and wanted to know where Sam was. When I asked him “Who’s Sam?” he responded, “My turtle.” “I thought Woody was the name of your turtle.” Not anymore he said, “We had an argument.” The disagreement was short lived as were all the disagreements Peggy and I had over the years. My daughter was bridesmaid at her daughter’s wedding and she was bridesmaid at my daughter’s wedding. Our grandchildren are each others best friends. I gave her and her husband a 25th Wedding Anniversary Party. I gave her a 50th birthday party and she gave me mine along with my children. We were going to go back to Nebraska next June for our 50th class reunion. We had plans to make scrapbooks for all of our classmates, scrapbooks filled with photos of all our growing up years. We have laughed together, cried together, got into spats, patched them up, looked to each other for support, for solace, for sanctuary…..and have always found it.
I cannot imagine a world without Peggy. Every time the phone rings I grab for it with fear. We live in Arizona and she lives in California. We were just out there over the holidays and I saw her three times. Each time was harder but I can only imagine what it is like to be inside her body at the moment. She was white and emaciated. She was frail and whispered. I said something as I held her hand and she smiled. I knew she’d never lose her sense of humor. Her boyfriend called me today and said she’d been asking for me. I wish I were an eagle and could fly to California in an instant and be there holding her hand and guiding her way through that white tunnel of light. When we used to hike she was always in the lead and here she is in the lead again. My thoughts go frequently to a poem I wrote many years ago.
DESTINATION The destination of our journey,Can only lie in death,But somewhere between the time,We take our first and our last breath,Lie all the peaks and valleys,The forests to explore,As we travel on our pathways,In our constant search for ‘more’,But ‘more’ eludes us always,Like a carrot on a stick,We follow as it tempts us,A candle's flickering wick,Now you see it, now you don't,Is it there or not?Are our elusive journeys,Just dreams we never sought?Or does the destination,Hover in the course?Hidden from our eyes,As a wise and endless source?And is the truth we seek,Before we close the door,Just an open window,To a life that offers more?
I will miss her forever.