Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Links and Passages

I got a call this morning telling me that someone from my old life, someone very special to me, passed away this weekend. She was the mother of my first husband's best friend. They were like a second family to my first husband, and consequently became like a surrogate family to me as well during the years I was married to Kelly. When he and I split up, and then he died shortly thereafter, that family never wavered in their support and love for me. They understood that Kelly had struggled with demons for years and years, and unlike my own family, never held me responsible for his downward spiral or his death. Marsha, the mom, celebrated my new marriage, along with all our other loved ones, at Michael's and my wedding reception, and she was never anything but genuinely happy that I had found happiness. Before I lost touch with her, she told me more than once to "thank Michael for me for being so good to you and to Kevin."

But as these things often go, we gradually lost touch over the years. She and I used to periodically talk on the phone, and I think as I moved on with my life, I made an effort to put my old life, and all its trappings, behind me. The phone calls petered out, though I did continue to send Christmas cards with letters, updating her on our goings-on and asking her for news on her end. But after a while, the responses stopped coming.

After several years of no contact, I found one of her daughters on Facebook, and she put me back in touch with her mom. I got a surprise phone call from Marsha one night this past May, and she and I spent over an hour catching up. It was wonderful to talk to her again.

Sadly, though, she had been battling pancreatic cancer for the last couple of years. In a rare ocurrence, she actually went into remission for a while (pancreatic cancer is extremely aggressive and usually terminal). When I spoke to her in May, she was in remission. After catching up, we promised to stay in touch and to get together when the stars aligned properly. But we never did.

And this morning I got a phone call from her other daughter. I haven't talked to her in ten years, probably, but as soon as she said who it was, I knew what she was calling about.

I don't feel like I'm really entitled to grieve; this wasn't my family, and I failed to make a better effort to stay in touch. And yet I feel very, very sad. A person who gives of themselves, who offers kindness and love and encouragement without judgment, without strings, is an extremely rare person in my experience. Marsha was one of those rare people.

They are having a memorial service for her in a couple of weeks which I and my little family have been welcomed to. I have very mixed feelings about it. Am I prepared to handle all the emotions it will bring up, these people being such a strong tie to the past I've tried so hard to put behind me? Particularly my first husband's best friend, one of Marsha's sons, who for many years was like a brother to me. I just don't know. It's putting my stomach in knots just thinking about it.

I don't know what I'm going to do. But I do feel like the world is now absent a really wonderful person.

1 comment:

diane rene said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Lisa.

Does anyone ever really know why or how they lose touch when they don't mean to? I sure don't. life happens, we can't avoid it or get around it ... it sucks us in and for a while we are only in contact with those we HAVE to be in contact with.

I believe you have every right to grieve tho! she may have been a part of the past, but she is a part you still find comfort in through memories. and if her daughter is calling to inform you, then you are still tied to them as well.

grieve the way you need to grieve, and find closure in your way, but know you are entitled.