The Loss of My Best Friend

     I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here, much has happened this past month.  First and foremost I’ve lost my very best friend in the world.  She was only 46 and I feel lost without her.  I ended up going straight from her funeral to the hospital and I’ve only been home a couple of days.  I haven’t much felt like writing.  I’m completely uninspired.  I wrote the eulogy for her funeral and I’m going to reprint it here.  As always thank you for reading and comments are welcome.

    My name is Lynda, but you wouldn’t recognize it if you ever heard Michelle talk about me, you would know me as Queenie, the name she gave me.  I’d like to tell you about my friend.  She was my sister, not by blood, but by our hearts and souls.

     We couldn’t have been more different her and I.  She was a low maintenance woman, and me, well let’s just say not so much.  I am the picture of a high maintenance woman at least that’s what I’m told.  Evidently, I couldn’t pass for low maintenance if I tried.  In fact the people that know me tell me not to even bother.  Let’s face it, she called me the queen for a reason.  I think that’s why we were destined to be friends, we balanced each other.  I’ll always have her with me, because of Michelle I’m a better wife to my husband, a better mother to my children, and a better friend.  I have certain people in my life because of Michelle, her friends became my friends.

      I thought she was a complete flake, but something kept drawing me to her, and the more I got to know her the more I realized how intelligent she was.  Not just intelligent, she had wisdom, the kind of wisdom that comes from living life in a way that’s honest and true.

     I learned so much from her, when Michelle loved you, she loved you for life, and I never knew anyone more open to giving her love, and it didn’t stop there.  If she loved you she took care of you.  She loved my entire family and when I was in the hospital and couldn’t take care of them myself, she stepped in.  My family was her family and they came to love her too.  She was generous with her time and attention always putting other’s needs a head of her own.

     In the short time we had together, I was in and out of the hospital, mostly in.  She was there for every surgery, and every illness.  When I was in a coma, she was in the ER with me, holding my hand.  She was in my home making dinner for my family, because of her I am a better more generous person.   Not 4 months after the coma I was told I had a tumor in my pancreas’s that was undoubtedly cancer.  It was 2 weeks before I could get to the surgeon in Indianapolis.  She called or came by every day, and before too long she took the crucifix from around her neck and put it on mine.  When I protested that she loved it too much to loan it to me she simply said that she loved me more. I’ll always believe that it was Michelle that started the prayer chain that made the surgeon unable to find the tumor to biopsy that he had so clearly seen on the cat scan the day before.  Last year I was sick with a life-threatening infection in my blood stream that required me to be transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis for a week that required yet more surgery and Michelle never left my side.

      I learned humility from Michelle.  Material things simply didn’t matter to her; she was just as content washing the dishes in the bathtub as she was in the kitchen sink.  I, on the other hand required a dishwasher.  If she had a book and her guitar that was all she needed to be happy, that and the many friends and family that she loved so dearly. She had her own room in my house and yet more often than not she would find her in bed with me, up all night laughing and talking and giggling like a couple of teenagers, usually with my husband begging for quiet so he could sleep.

     We spent a day in Chicago at the International Housewares Show.  We figured we walked 20 miles that day, I finally had something I could do for her.  We met our favorite celebrity chefs, they were like rock stars for us.  When we got off the train in Indiana, muscles we didn’t know we had were begging for mercy yet it was one of the best days either one of us ever had,  I can’t tell you what a privilege it was to be a part of “one of her best days ever.”

     In this past year I’d never seen her happier or look more beautiful.  She was living close to her children and spending more time with her mom and was more content than I’d ever known her to be.  All of this is the legacy she left and I, for one will always honor that.  I’ll leave you with this quote about friendship, author unknown:

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.”


Learning to Adapt

         I went to the International housewares Show in Chicago a week or so ago.  My best friend went with me and we had the great time I knew we were going to.  I also knew I was going to be sore at the end of the day, but I had no idea what was going to hit me and for how long.

     We saw some of my favorite chefs and ate some amazing food.  In case you don’t know McCormick place is huge and we figured we walked 10 miles.  I wasn’t surprised when I was watching the news about it and they said there were 13  miles of exhibits.  We just kept moving until it was time to take the train home.  I think when we sat down we started to get an idea of what we were in for as every muscle we had started to seize up, one at a time.  All we could do was laugh about it, I’m sure the steps disembarking the train were twice as steep as they were when we climbed on them.  The next day was even worse than the night before.  I could not move.  The neuropathy in my feet made going to the bathroom an excercise in torture that I had never experienced with quite that intensity.  As much as I’m in the hospital and with all that’s wrong with me, when rating my pain it was never a 10, 8 or 9 once in a while but never a 10.  That day it was a 10 all day.

     The next day was probably about 25 percent better and better each day after that.  So the question everyone is asking me is am I going back next year.  The answer is a resounding yes!  I’m going to do what’s important to me, regardless of the price I’m going to pay.  I will not be defined by illness and I’m going to keep going as long as I can.