Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Passing

I lost a dear friend recently. We met nearly 20 years ago when some friends at the newspaper I wrote for descended on me and connected my first computer to the Internet. We talked on a chat called ICQ, a social network out of Israel and talked through a long Eastern Shore winter. About the time the strawberries were ripe in May, Sue came south from New Jersey to pay me a visit.

People who write about soul mates tell of the lightning bolt of recognition that happens when members of the same soul group meet and I guess you could say it is true. We fell into each other's arms and were fast friends ever after.

But we could not have been more different. Sue was super energetic and loved shopping above all other occupations. She especially liked to collect owls and lighthouses. The fact I was between jobs and with a part-time gig to pay the rent, I found myself scouring the local yard sales and flea markets for things to sell on ebay, which made for that much more fun since we got to go shopping together - and furnished my apartment in the process.

As time moved on Sue married the nicest man, but while her search for love had been long, her sweetheart passed within a couple of years and again she began to spend many weekends in Cambridge or I traveled and joined her in Delaware.

And we called one another daily for years. It wasn't what we said so much as the regard that colored our communications.

Then cancer reared its ugly head and we both pretty much figured our time was numbered. We said I love you every time we spoke and that lasted until her final visit to the hospital. I knew she had gone when she did not answer my call and the next day I called her sister. Fran put the phone beside Sue's head on the pillow so I could say I loved her one more time.

About fifteen minutes later Fran called to say Sue had passed. I was so grateful I answered the urge to call and had the opportunity to say goodby. The hard part is that I am going to miss her - every evening when we might have called, on the road to the salvage store, overnights at one home or the other, and the encouragement she offered for my writing and crafts that kept my energy up when I wondered how to make ends meet.

Now, my heart jumps when I see an owl or lighthouse, but I know my friend has not gone far away. She's waiting at the curb for the next shopping expedition and enjoying the day. I hope you do as well. Look for the sunny side, it is waiting for you on the sidewalk with a new discovery or loved memory. Love, Terry

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