A few weeks back I had an unexpected visit from old friends of my parents, from my hometown, or rather, my birthplace. Following their visit, my mother informed me the friend I've had the longest time, since I can't even remember when we became friends, had passed away. Her death was announced during mass. I couldn't believe it. She's a bit older than I. She's had many health issues, so it was plausible.
Despite the distance between us, years going by, life getting in the way and keeping us busy we always managed to keep in touch, if only once or twice a year, but still. In April, for her birthday, I had tried to contact her but didn't get any answer. She's had it rough the past few years. She and her two brothers had opened a Harley shop in their neck of the woods. The business was doing well. It was their dream come true. Until one fine spring day, lunch time. Her youngest brother, widower and father of two girls, left their shop to go home to have lunch with his girls on his Harley. He never made it. He hit a van that was backing up a hill. He died on the spot. From that day on, my friend became a mother. Her brother had designated her as the legal guardian of his daughters. She went from playing "auntie" to being a full time mother in a flash. She was still living with her mother (the girls grandmother), but they adapted their lives and did manage, overall and despite the odds.
Two years ago, her mother died. She was now facing it all by herself. The girls took the passing of their grandmother hard, especially the youngest. But they still managed to keep it together. Since the passing of her mother, our communications has declined. Our parents were the initial link between us. We used to be neighbours and our parents were friends even before I was born.
I was supposed to sleep at my mother's the day she informed me of my friend's passing, but decided to come home and google her. I spent a lot of time on the web reading funeral announcements and obituaries, and couldn't find anything. I did call her and only got an answering machine. I did leave a message, but didn't get any call back.
I kept on looking for information about her. I actually found out she and some coworkers of hers, did win a lottery jackpot, but nothing about her death. I decided to call back, and leave another message, I wanted someone to call me back.
Tonight, after coming home from a movie ("Law Abiding Citizen" - worth it, in case you're wondering), we had a message...
My heart skipped a beat and then did the dance of joy when I heard her voice.
She's still around... That makes me really happy. Now I'll have to explain to her why I called and was so insistent... that should be interesting.
Me: "Hi, so happy to hear your voice"
Her: "What's up? Really sounded like you had to talk to me"
Me: "Don't quite know how to say this, but I thought you were dead..."
..yeah, that's going to be a fun conversation, I'm sure of it!