Death

There has been too much death in my life recently.

In the past month, I have lost three friends and my Godmother,who was in her late 90’s, and in my sister’s family, her husband lost a sister and his mother.

I don’t even begin to understand how to grieve when so much comes so fast. I just keep feeling like I’m being knocked down. I start to get up again, and wham! It happens again.

My brother-in-law’s mother lived to be over 100. I had met her, but didn’t really know her. With such a long life – and it was a good one – I cannot feel too badly. His sister, well, that is something else. Again, I didn’t know her well, but the shock of an unexpected death of a healthy woman had a profound impact on my sister’s entire family. Then the mother died just a few weeks later.

Closer to home, my Godmother was my mother’s best childhood friend. Aunt Mart abandoned rural Pennsylvania for Chicago, and my mother followed soon after. Mart had been raised on a farm, and my mom was a townie. Somehow, they became quite close.

My mother (Emilie), Aunt Mart, and my maternal grandmother (also Emilie).

As recently as last year, the last time I saw Mart, she talked with animated detail about the day I was born and how she’d felt seeing me for the first time. She glowed like she’d been the one to give birth.

Mart moved to Las Vegas from Chicago when her son moved there, and lived in her own home. Her son took her shopping weekly.

Mart with her son, Chip, summer of 2009.

I visited her yearly. Not nearly enough, but what I could manage and afford. Each time I’d go, we’d have a celebratory dinner at Mimi’s Restaurant, a place she loved. Last time, I also introduced her to Joe’s Crab Shack, and she made me swear I’d take her back on my next visit. The next visit was scheduled for this winter. Mart – I send love and thoughts of crab your way.

My sister, Jean (best sister in the world), Aunt Mart, and me – after dining at Mimi’s in 2010.

 

Mart and me after dinner – at Mimi’s – in 2011.

The other three who died were all male. One I didn’t know well at all, but I know and like his wife. The other is a man I met the day I first visited Bisbee. I somehow ended up at a party he was throwing, and that’s what got me stuck in Bisbee overnight. It changed my life.

I’ve known this man for nearly forty years. I had recently reconnected with him and it was such a pleasure to get to know him again.

The other who died, also male, was someone I knew thirty-five years ago. We had a lot of fun times together long ago, and for the last year or so had been connected through Facebook. This modern technological marvel allowed us to stay in touch, see each other’s photos, and reconnect over a large distance.

There is really nothing more to say other than I am sick of all the death.

My friend Christina (author of Drive Me Wild: A Western Odyssey) says that every day past fifty is a gift. In years past, everyone my age would already be dead. Before penicillin, a bout of pneumonia or any kind of infection due to an injury could have been deadly. Cancer, for sure, killed people – if they lived long enough to get it. I know all of this is true, and most days I feel exceedingly grateful for another day in decent health.

But still, it is hard to lose a friend and to lose my Godmother. And to have so many deaths happen in such a short period of time sends me reeling.

A Tucson friend is always shocked that each time I see her I have lost a friend. I won’t even tell her of the number since I saw her about six weeks ago.

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3 Comments

  1. Oh, Emilie! Do what you can to be extra good to yourself! I know all your friends will do whatever we can to help you through this incrediblly long and difficult time…
    Please call if you need to do something.

    Reply

  2. I’m sorry that it’s been a series of losses for you. You never seem to get a chance to recover before the next one hits. I was discussing this with one of my Grief Share facilitators today. For a while I thought that I had become the designated “funeral planner”. It was a job that I did well, but hated to assume. Perhaps your life, too, will begin to settle down soon. Hang in there. We all need to get together again soon…before another funeral 🙂

    Reply

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