This past Wednesday (July 21st), my friend Judith died of cancer, and I’ve been having a very bad week since Monday. I feel like I have a rock sitting on my chest, and when I try to talk about her, I start being unable to breathe. My head starts hurting.
Everything makes me think about her. On Thursday as I was driving to work, I was listening as usual to our local public radio station, and they did a weather report predicting a 30% chance of rain. My first thought was, “Judith will never see rain again”. It isn’t a good sign when you get depressed by weather reports…but I have a goal.
First of all, I know that I need time. I can’t rush the stone off my chest. It will lift gradually on its own. Second I have good memories that I think about every time I start to cry, like the frogs and the wood stork memories (more about them later). I want the frogs and the wood storks to displace the stone.
Meanwhile, Judith’s obituary came out in today’s newspaper, and I thought it was the best one I’ve ever seen. First of all, it tells how she died. It is a huge pet peeve of mine not to know (not that I make a habit of reading obits). I mean, was it cancer? A car wreck? Were you hang-gliding off a cliff? Do you qualify for the Darwin awards?
Second, how many obits do you see which mention the ex-husband, not counting the ex-husband who was the father of her two daughters? I was like…who wrote this? It finally dawned on me that it was probably Judith herself, but tweaked by her family.
We shared many interests, the greatest of which was probably reading, and our mutual favorite writer was Nevada Barr. Barr has a recurring character named Anna Pigeon, a park ranger, whose sister Molly is a psychiatrist in New York. Bad things are always happening to Anna, and in the latest book, Molly says, when something really bad happens you have to tell the story at least three times. This is my first.