A Departure [prose]


A Departure

October comes: mid-Spring (ironic!). My friend goes – unexpectedly. She constantly worked at self-healing. Although in great pain, given one year to live she lived seven.

There were dialysis and prescribed medications. Also she communicated closely with her body to know what foods were best at any time. When she Googled the food, it always turned out to have properties she needed right then. 

Her feet swelled, and for a long time were numb. She had her carers massage them, bending ankles and toes back, forward and in circles, gradually increasing the range of movement. Lately she was feeling her feet again, and feeling them connect with the floor as she moved around with her wheely-walker. 

She spent hours each day, herself, massaging thymus, coccyx, lymph glands. 

‘This is real,’ she said. ‘We’re bodies. We have to do the work.’

She also said, a week ago, ‘I’m at the end of my tether.’ So perhaps it shouldn’t have been a shock. 

It was, though.

She thought she was nearly finished the long process, finally expelling the last, worst poisons. She planned a holiday in Thailand next year with one of her carers. She bought equipment for the restaurant she meant to open when she was well.

Yesterday I was packing to spend the weekend with her, as I often did, when her daughter phoned. 

‘I’m sorry to tell you, Mum passed away this morning.’

‘What? No! How?’

‘In the transport on the way to hospital.’ (She always went for dialysis on Fridays.)

I phoned my stepson, who was close to her too. He texted later that he broke down sobbing after we hung up. Me, I did some screaming. 

Yet, along with other emotions, I find myself fervently thankful she didn’t die while I was with her – even more, that I didn’t turn up today to find her corpse in her bed. 

I’m surprised by huge relief that I need never again sleep in her spare room with the ill-fitting outside door. I feared Brown Snakes squeezing through that gap. A gekko came in, briefly, last weekend. 

But I’m grateful for much more, too. She taught me heightened awareness. She showed me how to be strong. 

                                    ~~~~~~~~

I could list many, many other positive things to be grateful to her for – but this is written as a piece of short prose, exactly 369 words without title, for Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose: October Is Here.

                                              ~~~~~~~~                               

My stepson and adopted daughter (as she called herself, saying I was the mother she wished she'd had) – taken back in December 2010:




















Comments

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, Rosemary 😢😢

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very sorry for your loss, Rosemary. —- Mary

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've done quite a bit of crying today. Good, ugly, cleansing crying (with rays of laughter around the edges). I was thinking about my friends who passed away a couple of weeks ago--one of them used to love NY Comic Con, so every time I saw something I knew she would like the tears would come. No sobbing, just the sort tears that choke the heart and make a soul want to spill the hurt via the eyes. Then, I read your post and the tear-gates burst.

    You've opened your heart in words, and the color of the hurt looks so much like mine. I understand the pain, the loss, the grief, the sense of relief mixed with much more complex emotions. I feel all of it. Because you are so good at showing the details--I can hear your friend talking, telling you how tired she was, that she was ready... I can see her watching you and letting you know that it's okay to scream today. But tomorrow you must live. For you and for her. I can see that gekko so clearly. And the lessons she taught you, too. Because you've always been so good at sharing, Rosemary.

    I wish we were closer to each other. We would chant for our friends' soul, probably cook for them (and with them), and tell each other about all the things that made them such an important part of our lives. May your Leticia and my friends find the rest they needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I posted this, I knew you would understand it all very immediately, having so recently lost two precious friends. My tear-gates haven't burst yet, this death being only two days new. I'm sure I'll be glad of the release when it comes. (Screaming helps but isn't quite so healing.) Ha, Letitia loved cooking; she'd be in that!

      Delete
  4. You’ve had a sad October so far, Rosemary. I’m sorry for your loss, but pleased she had a bonus six years. Even when you expect it, death is always a shock. I admire her stoicism, and she was right: ‘We’re bodies. We have to do the work.’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well, that made me laugh (thanks, I needed it!). My dear Letitia was anything but stoic. She raged quite frequently against her limitations, with loud obscenities. However, she WAS very strong-minded and determined.

      Delete
  5. Such a sad loss - and such wisdom in your words

    ReplyDelete
  6. A few weeks ago I lost my very first girl friend from the 1950's we had both gone our separate ways after leaving school, married our adult choice of partner and never had any contact until 60 years later after both our married partners died. I was so pleased we had reconnected after all that time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh,. I'm sad for you, Robin. I know you were enjoying the renewed contact.

      Delete
  7. I have several siblings, only one of which do I even bother to communicate. But I had a lifelong friend I considered my brother, who died quite a while back now. I'm still not over it. My heart feels you. A beautiful contemplation. Salute and condolences.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I lost a good friend in October, and my first dog two weeks after that. I remember my friend's long illness and how its shouldn't have felt like a shock because we all knew it was terminal, it still felt odd taking a deep breath knowing he was done breathing. I couldn't look at squirrels for a few days after Faye passed either, silly as that sounds. I missed the tug of her leash whenever one crossed her path. But I couldn't imagine what my life would have been like without either of them. They will be fondly remembered in my October observances.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Despite the pain evident in this piece, there is hope at the end, hope for healing...sometime...somewhere...somehow. Perhaps after the screams have died away, and the tears have dried. It's a long process...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am so sorry Rosemary. Having lost three friends in the last two years (two to suicide), I can feel the pain in this but also the varying degrees of relief. I also feel the love you two had for each other and the things she taught you. I read again Farewelling Selene. There is so much similarity between the these two pieces. I can read the things they both taught you and that you in turn taught and gave them. My heart grieves for you. But my heart also rejoices that you had them in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, Rosemary! My deepest condolences; your friend went unexpectedly. The news is still fresh, and probably still feels unreal. But you've managed to weave a beautiful story filled with fondness of the times you spent together, and a bonus of six more years. May the lessons she taught you, and joys you shared (and the memory of a gecko squeezing through the ill-fitting door) bring you comfort!

    ReplyDelete
  12. So sorry for the loss of your friend. These are touching words.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rosemary, what a shock, when you had been spending so much time with her. So sudden. It is good she had those extra years, and was so strong and brave. Sad that it was so sudden, no time for anyone to prepare or adjust. Seeing the comments above, so many are dealing with losses. She sounds like the most wonderful friend, and how you will miss her. But how wonderful that you had been spending so many weekends with her, and had that time of closeness wih her towards the end.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is so poignant... a loss even if expected always come suddenly, and all those mixed feelings with sorrow and relief at the same time. October is a month of sorrow I always think, but here it is for darkness coming.

    ReplyDelete
  15. So very sorry for your sudden sad news, Rosemary. A bad feeling to be at the end of your tether but I marveled at her still planning of trips and business endeavors right up until the end.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The suddenness of such things is often rough, but it seems to me you two might have talked about many things and had a great relationship. Makes it easier ... and harder as you will truly miss her. She was (I hate that word - past tense) very beautiful. I'm glad you got some of your feelings out in this poem... hugs from a long distance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, we did have wonderful conversations, and even a lot of fun.

      Delete
  17. The terrible thing is she worked so hard at getting better...planning the trip to Thailand.etc.Heartbreaking. Life throws these hand grenades at you.Terrible shock ....I am so sorry for your loss.She sounds like a wonderful friend.

    I cannot believe you slept in a place with a gap in the door in the bush....yikes....Gaffa tape....always take gaffa tape with you everywhere .The browns are bad this year with no rain and the heat so be extra careful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you, the gaffa tape is an excellent idea! I'll chuck a roll in the car. Yes I know the browns will be bad this year and will take good care. Not exactly bush where she lived; she rented a house on a dairy farm. But even so, browns are all too possible and in that way at least her timing was perfect for me.

      Delete
  18. Rosemary, this is such a heart wrenching piece. She was fortunate to have your love. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. October does seem to be a season of "suddenly". It rather catches one off guard.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear RoseMary Death shocks us when it visits though it is a harsh reality.So sorry for your loss and grief May The Almighty bring peace and comfort to you and those grieved with you amen.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so sorry, Rosemary. Having lost some good friends, I know the grief. It is a long process, so take your time and be well.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Many thanks to everyone for the kind wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosemary, on line again after a couple of years off, and here you are, grieving a friend. Your lines about not sleeping in the spare room, yes. And the damned lizard! Ha! You still found a moment in there to make this old girl smile. She sounds like a wonderful soul who left too soon. But, like all good people, her melody will linger. Amy

      Delete

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and will be visible after the blog owner approves them.

Popular posts from this blog

Farewelling Selene

Go Away, Online Stalker

A Lament for the ‘Tasmanian Tiger’