The school bus had red Christmas tinsel wrapped around the braces holding the mirrors and a wreath hanging on the front. I smiled and wondered if the students would enjoy it or judge it to be "lame" or whatever word is currently in use. My next thought was that I would have something cheerful to e-mail my friend. I've been searching for and writing about happy things for a while now. My friend has been ill and working at keeping her MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) from going into leukemia through a sheer determination to get certain things done. We have e-mailed about current events, politics, family, books, paintings and humorous things I could find on line and in life. Sometimes things as simple as a listing of the day's activities or what I was cooking. Once I convinced her to face her fear of flying, in order to visit her brother. Other times she becomes the teacher she has always been. She will write a paragraph, and though she never actually writes the words "expand on this and discuss," the good student I have always been understands the inferred instruction. I can feel my posture improve as I address the key board and begin writing. Then she challenged me to write, and so, these blogs began.
We discussed the hospice workers assigned to her and whether or not they actually knew what they were doing. She probably made them feel useless having made her plans on first diagnosis. One day the e-mail came mentioning extra appointments with the doctor. Then the complaint that the doctor did not seem to be paying attention to her wishes. I gave her full support to stand her ground and refuse extraordinary measures even though a selfish part of me wanted to beg her to change her mind.
On Friday morning the e-mail telling of her weakened condition came. Her projects had all been given to her children in the last few days. I sent her an e-mail of friendship and support and received a reply on Saturday saying, "thank you" and "good bye." She left us Monday evening. Those of us who knew her over the years are left richer with fond memories, humorous stories, pithy quotes, and a lesson in being forthright and honest.
I will miss her, but time and loss have taught me that the ache eases and we do honor to those who have moved on by trying to live our lives to the height of our potential. There is no reason now to write about the decorated school bus, except that it made me smile and think how she would have enjoyed the story.
Tags: Friendships Life Experience