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Laugh With Lisa: Friendship

"Making a friend is a wonderful thing. It is what makes your life complete,'' writes Lisa DeMarco.

Sometimes you meet someone and immediately you know you want to get to know them better, and other times you feel like you have known that person your whole life. Another soul – a stranger – that touches you so quickly and so deeply that you swear you’ve met this person before, those are the bonds that cannot be broken.

That is how it is with me and my best friend, Jackie. I met Jackie several years back as a customer at the restaurant. She and her late husband, Sammy, came in frequently and we seemed to take to one another right away. It wasn’t long before they came for birthdays and holiday celebrations at my home, basically becoming adopted grandparents to my entire family. Sure I am only 41 and she is 82, but age doesn’t count when real friendship is involved. And so it was, she became my advisor and I became her dose of adrenalin. It was great. Even our husbands got along, and for the first time since I moved away from New Jersey, over 20-years ago, I could honestly say I had a “BFF!”

Years later, and still as close as two girlfriends can be, I finally realized the downfall of having a best friend that is double my age. She is old! Not in spirit, of course, but in body and body parts. It’s not her fault. She has lived a GREAT life. Unfortunately, I have a feeling, some day I will have to go through one of the hardest days of my life, but this time, I won’t have my best friend to advise me.

For a few months now my husband and I have been driving Jackie to her doctors’ appointments. She has been trying to schedule surgery for an aneurism for a couple of years now but between health concerns and medical issues, she kept putting it off. Then, after her husband – of over 60-years, passed away last year, it seemed it was in her best interest to just wait. Which is what she did. She got her spirits up and her blood pressure down. Her diet set and her sleep adjusted. She was as healthy as a woman her age can be, and she was ready to take on surgery.

Sadly, in the time it took her to get the situation straightened out, the window of opportunity closed for her to fix her circumstances without a “major surgery.” Now that option would no longer be useful.

So, what do you do? Doc said, she can have a different procedure done, one that they (the experts) consider a “major surgery,” but they only give her a 50/50 chance of survival and then up to a 90% chance of ending up in a nursing home facility after recovery. Or, she can just go on as she has been – in reasonably good health – and live exactly as she is right now for as long as she is meant to. No operations. No pain. No recovery time. Just, things as usual, until it is no more. Then, according to her doctor, a man who I can tell is also fond of my Jackie, she will quickly feel discomfort for a short period of time and then she will be gone. Just like that.

Amazed to even hear the words coming out of the doctor’s mouth, more or less try to comprehend what it actually meant, brought me to a weird but very real place in my own mind. It was at that moment that I realized I could actually die before her. Even at her age, with her medical condition, there is a chance that I will not only die before her but that when she does die it will not even be related to this condition. WOW!

Trying not to interrupt or show too much emotion, while Jackie sat silent, and listened to every word of his consultation, I was sure what I would say on the ride home, when she would ask me – and I knew she would, “What do you think I should do?”

Jackie and I are friends for many reasons, but mainly because we really are very similar. Knowing our thought process, and our shared belief that death is not a bad place, I knew our choice would be “quality” over “quantity.”

She has already lived a FABULOUS life! A life filled with “true love” and commitment. Friends and memories. Experiences and disappointments. And still she exudes hope and happiness. Joy and wisdom. She is a woman, a mother, a teacher, a student, a child at heart, and yes, of course, my BEST FRIEND!

I know that if given the chance to gracefully leave this earth and move on to a place, where I am sure her beloved Sammy is waiting, I would suggest simply letting her natural timer just run out. No burdens, No worries. Or should I say, no more than the next guy. If it’s not going to make it right, why make it worse?

I pray things are the way I believe. I hope my faith will always be strong. I know I am not alone and that someone or something does love me. I will find comfort in that until I am proven wrong. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and shared. Just not longer than humanly possible!

Finally, to all my dear friends that recently passed, and to all their families and friends, I have greatly enjoyed knowing each and every one of you, and whether you are here or there or somewhere in between, may we all work to be at peace within ourselves, with those around us and within our world.

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