I began to write about friends who have died, but then I said “I don’t want to.” It’s Christmas time and I don’t want to feel sad or miss those who have passed. Then I read a blog about a widower who lost his wife to cancer in 2011, and he wrote about a time when he didn’t want to write, but he did it anyways to keep her alive in his blog. I cannot compare my mourning to his, because I know what I feel isn’t comparable to how I would feel if I lost my husband. With that, I think I can manage to write something.
The first friend I ever lost was Melissa at the age of 8 years old. I warn that what I’m about to say will likely make you cry. Melissa was raped and murdered by a “friend” of their family. I remember my mother pointing out the news story on tv and I don’t know if my mother ever know how Melissa affected my life. When I was young, I was repressed and didn’t have any friends. I may not have known her for long, but it was long enough to have a place in my heart and I’ve never forgotten her. I still remember the mulberry trees in the yard and staining our faces and fingers with that purplish red color. I still remember her room with flowers on the wall, and the little old tv watching her favorite show Dougie Howser MD. I continued to watch Dougie Howser until the last episode and I’m a lifetime fan of Neil Patrick Harris. There will always be a part of her with me.
I lost my Grandma Dorothy in my teen years and I miss her. I remember Christmas at her house and I remember opening a present from her that ended up my favorite toy in the world. It was a “Talking Baby Wurble” which was a noisy teddy bear with a light up nose (ahhh 80’s toys). I asked my mother what her tag said, and she replied “Cuddle Wit”. Now, I have a hearing disability, so I had heard “Cuddlewitz” and that became her name. During one of our moves, I lost my bear. When Maw Maw passed away, it was awkward for me. She was diabetic and strokes had pretty much taken her away before her body followed suit. I didn’t know what to say or how to feel about it. One thing that lingered, was that I missed Cuddlewitz. I searched for a long time to find another one. Though I could find Wurbles on ebay, specific one that I needed was rare. My wonderful husband bought me the exact Wurble I wanted this past year. I cried when I opened the box. It was like saying hello to Maw Maw again. I could imagine her saying “Aw sha, Maw Maw loves you.” In case you haven’t guessed, I’m from Louisiana. I do miss you Grandma, and Cuddlewitz II is always on the living room couch.
My husband and I went through some hard times. We were very poor and I very sick for a long time. Some distant friends of ours, Chazz & Carrie, offered to let us stay with them for free while I recovered. There was no pressure to find work and I could take the time I needed to recover. My recovery took months and we did what we could to repay them for their generosity. We cleaned house (or more like my husband did when I couldn’t), babysat, and shared our one computer with them. A year after moving out there, a friend that we left behind passed away.
Greg was epileptic and wasn’t taking his medication. He hit his head during a seizure. We were heart broken. It was during Thanksgiving season on Nov. 22nd, 2004. Greg had been the most generous person I had ever met at the time. He had been very generous to my husband, who had known him first. They were roommates. If it hadn’t been for Greg, my husband and I may have never ended up together. He was very kind and gentle, and he was a great friend. We miss him every year.
This past year on Nov. 22nd, 2012… Chazz broke his neck in a 4-wheeler accident while on Thanksgiving vacation. We couldn’t believe that we had lost another generous friend on the same date. We hadn’t talk to Chazz in the past couple of years, and I wish we hadn’t lost touch. Despite the distance, the news of his passing found us very quickly. We still appreciate everything you did for us and we’ll always be sad that the world no longer has you in it.
I had to learn that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone. Anyone can touch your heart in the time you have with them. And sometimes, we regret not being there for those who you later realize needed it most. There was a girl who was a few years younger than me, who hung out with my crowd of friends. By the time I was a teenager, I opened up more and had several friends. This younger girl was fairly obnoxious, but after the things she went through, I wish I had been a better friend to her. Her mother gave her up for adoption at the age of 16 and she was killed in a police chase at 18. I’m sorry Jess. I wish I had been there for you. Maybe I could have made a difference in your life for the better.
Once upon a time, we met a girl named Jessalynn in a club we were in. We had plans to meet for the first time in person at a convention. We were going to share a hotel room between us and though she setup the reservation, she put it in both our names. I’m glad she did, because she never made it. Her thoughtfulness saved us from the extra frustration that this trip had became. The hotel was booked solid and if my name hadn’t been on the reservation, we would have been stuck. The front desk told us that they were notified of her death. Jess and her mother died in a car accident. I felt my heart drop. Jess had friends at this convention and I didn’t know her friends yet. I was mortified at the thought of a stranger telling them that their loved one had died. It was awful. I could barely get the words out of my mouth. I pulled the Coordinator for the club and the convention aside and choked out the words, and they were amazingly helpful and helped with notifying the rest of the members. That day left me with a sense of missing out on what could have been a great friendship. I still remember her to this day and how I felt.
I am no stranger to death and yet I cannot fathom how I could ever get through the loss of my husband and I hate to think that he’ll ever died. We never know how long we have or how we touch someone’s life. We never know if that one good thing that we do will make a big difference. I’ll remember those passed this Christmas, and I’ll love and hug those still with us.