Saying Goodbye

I debated writing this post.

These are probably the most personal words I have ever written, yet I feel guilty about writing them.

My friend is dying of cancer. She has been given only hours to live.

Despite the tears making wet trails down my cheeks, I feel guilty about the enormity of my grief.  Her husband, children, parents and even other friends are losing someone who occupied a much bigger space in their lives.

I feel guilty because they value their privacy and my friend’s privacy, and I don’t want to violate that.

And yet, as always, I feel the incredible need to write something about the situation. I feel as though putting my thoughts into a concrete form will somehow make sense of an incredibly unfair situation.

If my friend, the lawyer by education and the social worker by heart, could read these words, I know exactly what she’d say.

She’d tilt her head ever so slightly, give me a sidelong glance and say “curious.”

My friend never understood why I wrote.

I remember one particular conversation that occurred while we sat drinking margaritas as we looked out over Pamlico Sound in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

“You write for pleasure?” she asked in her trademark flat yet completely expressive voice.

We were discussing a possible career change for me, and she was trying to make sense of what she considered a completely ridiculous notion that being creative could actually be a profession.

“But who would read what you wrote?” she asked.

“You already do,” I replied.

“Yeah, but I don’t pay for it,” she said.

That ended the conversation but not our friendship.

Now, on an extremely cold February night, I’m grieving the loss of that friendship while simultaneously trying to remember how it even began.

I remember how we met, but I can’t remember how we grew from being acquaintances to being friends. I can’t remember when she became THE person I texted when I was most pissed off because I knew she would respond with some sardonic comment that would make me feel better.

Just today, despite a final visit to her hospital room yesterday, I found myself picking up my phone to tell her about a completely ridiculous situation.

That was the bittersweet moment when I realized that her diagnosis of cancer had gifted me with a reminder about the value of time, of enjoying completely inane moments and of appreciating the sometimes random events of life that bring people together.

Cancer completely sucks, but it also has the amazing ability to remind us of how beautiful life can be.

As my friend would say, “curious.”

I’ll miss hearing her say those words, but I’ll never forget how they always made me smile.

This final goodbye would be much  more difficult  if she hadn’t given me so many of those smiles.

Thank you my friend.

Thank you so very, very much.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on February 20, 2015, in My life, people, perspective and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I did not know about blogging when my good friend told me she had only 3 months to live. I wish I had written about it like you have done here. With the writing comes a form of understanding and appreciation for the love shared in a sweet friendship. I understand.

  2. There is something validating about writing the experience down. It somehow honors it. I find that especially true as a person who has lost a few friends and recently another. Blogging about it makes the memory concrete, if that makes sense. I’m glad I found your blog!

  3. My deepest sympathies , Trina ….I read what you write and enjoy your words….God Bless You with these final words of goodbye to a dear friend !!…thank you for sharing !!

  4. Trina, what a beautiful tribute to Stephanie. My heart breaks for her friends and family and for Stephanie and all the life experiences she’ll miss that so many of us take for granted. She has been so brave and such a fighter through all she has gone through. May she now rest in peace and rest in the arms of our living Father.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: