Sunday, September 07, 2014


I am still processing a trip back to my home country.

A trip which started with an enormous shadow cast over it.

A shadow which crept into every aspect of it, which had me telling extended family members or close friends as I sat down to table or met them in cheerful places:

"I'm really, really sorry if I appear sad and distracted. It's not you."

And then I would creep off stage to take or make a phone-call on my Irish mobile.

My very best friend, my friend of over 60 years (how rare that is, a friend from kindergarten, from everything and everyone important in one's life who knows all your secrets and you hers)was sick when I arrived. Doctors had thrown anti-depressants at her, she wasn't eating, her brain wasn't functioning, her balance was precarious. This I saw when I arrived.

I was shocked, appalled, frightened. She is a livewire, had completed a marathon in June, was on the Irish bridge team, formed her own successful book club and was a host, along with her husband, of salon type gatherings of interesting, wonderful people, one of which she'd planned for me the following night.

The wheels were set in motion from that point. Immediate medical attention from other consultants if necessary.

Within days, she was under a surgical team of 4. The brain tumour was huge, 5 centimetres. And they didn't get all of its evil tendrils as it would have impacted her mobility and intelligence.

And I haven't written about it until now, even my personal hand written journaling of the whole scattered time of it brings me to tears.

I am frozen in the processing, something inside went numb and scared and can't get up.

I don't know what her comprehension is of what is going down. Only her husband's. He is being so brave and positive for their adult children but lets more of his bewilderment and loss and fear out with me.

To say we are stunned is to put it mildly. To say we are lost for words when words are lost to us seems trite.

The magnitude is incomprehensible.

I can't imagine my life without her, without her cheerleading, without her daily emails, without her chat. Without her, my glorious, wonderful friend.

I had thought to stay on in Ireland to dither around the edges of the pain and loss and helplessness.

I thought long and hard and alone on this but decided against it. Our usefulness can often be more helpful in the simple carrying on of our own lives.

Pretending everything is okay.

When the heart is shattered.


  1. So very very sorry
    Have been thinking of you
    much lately and checking to see if you returned.
    Please take care
    and hopefully your dear friend
    recovers - these words sent seem not enough but they are sent with much Love.

  2. My sympathies. Is there hope of a recovery of sorts? I surely hope so.

  3. How savage this disease can be, rampaging through so many lives at once.

  4. Devastating. I am so sorry...for your loss of what was to be a special time with your very best friend and for all the uncertainty now. Thinking of you ~

  5. My dear WWW, it was creation's hat trick to give us hearts to "shatter".

    Death has been with me from early childhood, and is the subject of one of my life long studies. Though death (my own) only took on importance once I became a mother. That was the moment from which it actually REALLY mattered that I was alive.

    I feel for you, WWW. If, and when, longest standing friend (LSF) snuffs it - and it can only be a matter of time - there'll be a hole in my life as big as you are unlikely to find in a Swiss cheese. Not as big a hole if the Angel snuffed it - but huge.

    The comparison with Emmental not far fetched. As people start either fading away, indeed dying - how dare they -, the fabric of our life does become like lace. Lots of holes. Beautiful nevertheless.

    Weak comfort, WWW: Let's be grateful not only that there are people in our lives whose loss we do/will mourn but, more importantly, that they were there at all.


  6. How hard it is to face loss, how difficult to determine our own role in the face of it. You are brave to come home and face the loss of your friend from afar, but you are right in thinking that our usefulness can be more helpful if we simply keep on being who and what we are. The living must go on living despite the dying others are doing. May you find strength in your own doings. XO

  7. I am devastated for you WWW. After all the joyous planning, this event with your friend's health must be so very painful on so many levels. How fortunate for your friend and her family that you were there, yet, I am sure it has been a very sad adjustment to make as you came home. You are right, I believe, she would want you to come home and have your life. May you find peace in your own beautiful place.

  8. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's heart-rending to face the prospect of losing a dear friend.

  9. So very sorry to hear you're having such a sad tough time. xx

  10. A friend of mine went through this and recovered. It was a tough go, though. She just came back from a safari trip to Africa!
    It could be OK.

  11. How very sad. It sounds as if there's not much chance of any kind of recovery. After 60 years of such close friendship, that must be so distressing.

  12. Virtual hugs to help you through this difficult time. Lán grá GM


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