Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A call

My friend from America, Marilyn called me today. I met Marilyn when I was in NYC and we hit it off right away and became great friends. We had the same love for literature and dreams of writing, museums and opera, and a lust for walking the city. We became pregnant within one week of each other and spent much of our pregnancy walking the sidewalks of NYC together, and eating. We ate a lot. During our last trimester we both had a craving for Mexican food.

El Coyote in Greenwich Village is one of the best places for Tex-Mex food in the world. It is a small restaurant with six or seven booths, and some ten or so tables spread about into a back room – more of an indentation really. The only bathroom lies at the end of a very narrow darkened hallway where the doors for the men and women’s face each other. I am 5’10” tall and Marilyn is 5’11” tall and we were HUGE. The sight of the two of us coming down 5th avenue scared off more than one tourist I can assure you. We had gone for lunch a week before Marilyn delivered. Once we had placed our bellies in the booth it never failed that one of us had to pry loose and go to the bathroom. The trip down that narrow hall was like a Stephen King movie where I was just waiting for Jack Nicholson to show up, especially when I reached the end only to see the door from the Men’s room opening! He took one look at me wedged in the hallway and backed himself into the Men’s room snappy quick.

Marilyn delivered a beautiful healthy little girl one week before I did the same. The girls grew up side by side for three years. Marilyn and I talked parenting, losing the baby weight, and the future. Now it was the four of us who walked NYC, and every museum, every zoo, and every merry-go-round saw us visit.

Marilyn moved her family to the country, and had another healthy girl. Q and I left the city as well. We have kept in close touch since those years. Emails constantly, photographs of every event, calls when we were happy, calls when we were frightened or sad, and we threatened visits but something always came up. We always knew what was going on in each other’s life and what the children were doing.

Her eldest daughter graduated university the same year as Q. Her youngest began university this year and has done splendidly. Not only are her grades good, but also she has found her career path, and loves the school. She and her older sister have been remarkably close since they were small children. Diane went to California to visit her big sister over her Christmas holiday.

My friend Marilyn called me today. Diane is dead. She was in a pedestrian accident in Baltimore where she attended university. She died at the scene.

I debated whether to write this for the blog. Normally I only pass on good news, but I think we all have to have these wake up calls now and again. Diane wasn’t sick, she wasn’t in a war zone, and it wasn’t a terrorist’s attack. It was an accident, and her life is over. Marilyn has had her heart torn out. “How can a person be in this much pain and still be alive?”

Go now – hug people you love. Call your parents, call your children, call your partner or spouse. Act sappy, mushy, and do not do it quietly. So quickly and it is gone. I have had this loss and it never gets better. You bleed every day and it is a wound that does not heal. You never hear that laugh again, you don’t get to see her graduate, have a career, get married…all that we take for granted. Every day, every day we have to pay attention to our lives. Live every day like it is the last day of someone you love.

Thank you for listening.


Omega Mum said...

Oh, Lady M, what can I say? Yes, this needs to be here. I am thinking of you and your friend.

I Beatrice said...

That is so sad Lady M! I'll take ten minutes to sit quietly in the garden and think of you. Of your own past loss as well as the newer one of your friend.

I live with the ever- present sorrow of having an autistic grandson - but somehow one always manages to smile and soldier on.

I know you will, anyway! None better to do it than you. But meanwhile, here I am in the garden with the heavy smell of mock orange - thinking of you.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Lady M., my heart goes out to you and Marilyn. It isn't natural for the child to die before the parent. My aunt lost a son to leukemia in 1956 and still grieves for her little boy. My great-grandmother lost a little boy to some childhood illness that there's a vaccine for now. Well into her old age, she wept for her little Riley. I have just hugged my ten-year-old very hard, and will hug the 12-year-old when she gets home, whether she likes it or not.

Bogger Blogger said...

Sad news, sympathies from Ireland.

jenny said...

I've tears in my eyes after reading your post. I'm so very sorry for your loss and your friends' loss of her child.

It's true, what you said. You cant go on thinking you are invincible and not be aware of the dangers lurking about. You shouldnt live your life afraid, but live it to the fullest, because you just never know.

You are in my thoughts, dear. ((HUGS))

The Good Woman said...

Thank you Lady M. I have phoned Mum, brother, husband and Bambi has just managed to fight me off.

Thinking of you and all those who have had loved ones snatched away.

Brillig said...

Oh, how incredibly heart breaking. I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm grateful that you decided to post about it. Everyone will get an extra long hug today.

Life As I Know It said...

Oh, how tragic. I am so sorry for your friend's loss.
I'm glad you posted this and I'm grateful I came across your blog today. We all need reminders now and then at how precious and fragile life is.

sally in norfolk said...

This brought tears to my eyes , we take so much for granted.... x x

Shauna said...

I wish I knew what to say. My thoughts are with you and your friend. Take care.

debio said...

There is nothing to say which will help or make things better. Or if there is, I am not up to the task.

We live a fine line daily between tragedy and ecstasy and this should be ever in our thoughts.

I have learned to mourn my loved ones leaving and rejoice on their return - who knows what the Fates have in store for the intervening period.

Thank you for sharing that with us - I cried for you all.

lady macleod said...

I thank you each and every one for your kind thoughts. I wish joy for each of you. I am amazed that in such a short time, and over cyber space I feel I know you. May each of us embrace our happiness fully each day and take our sorrows to heart to heal as they come.

Thank you so much. Your words mean a great deal to me.

mutterings and meanderings said...

So sorry. Your love for your friend shines through in your writing.

lady macleod said...


Thank you. She is quite splendid and a wonderful mother. My heart is breaking for her.