Thank you, Zoom
We Zoomed as we had done weekly for several months, bolstering our strong bonds during the pandemic. One couple in Michigan, one in the Chicago suburbs, and we in Arizona. After Christmas, the Michigan couple retreated to Florida to escape the harsh winter. Our weekly banter covered the obligatory health updates (we allowed no talk of bowels), family updates, then lots of laughter.
Three weeks ago today we Zoomed as we had done weekly for several months. Last night, one of us died.
We were so close to safety, the COVID vaccine the carrot on the stick. Afflicted by an autoimmune disorder, Larry did not qualify to receive the magic potion, but would be safe as people around him became immune. When the virus attacked, his body, unable to form antibodies, succumbed quickly to the deadly enemy. No one was prepared. He was on vacation. Who dies on vacation?
His widow Pat (No! She is crabby old Aunt Pat, not Widow Pat), faces a new life. She must return home alone, to a beautiful house designed and tended by Larry, with no Larry. How does she return to the community in which Larry was a driving force?
Of the three couples, Pat and Larry were the most “couple”, their interests and temperaments aligned. The rest of us were goslings.
Death surrounds me
Earlier this week, brain cancer took our good friend Frank whose smile and gentle manner will be remembered as long as we live. He and his wife Sharon were also a couple, perfect for each other.
Word came of the death of a friend’s ex. Although not a part of our recent history, he was a part of our story. He had been in our home. His DNA was deposited in our midst.
Another friend lost her husband today to a long fight against Crohn’s disease. I had never met him, but love his wife dearly. I grieve for his struggle and her lonely journey.
That’s four this week. Death surrounds me. I look forward to freedom from COVID but feel as if I am plodding through dead bodies. The sorrow is heavy.
When my mother lived independently at a retirement center, she commented that friendships were difficult because people disappeared so often. Some died. Some moved out to live with their children. Others departed with no explanation. Attendance in the dining room served as a daily tally.
Pandemic or not, we are at an age at which we face mortality, the greatest surprise and mystery of our lifetime. Weeks pass without loss, then, as this past week, we are reminded that death is lurking nearby.
I now buy sympathy cards in a value pack, knowing that I will use the dozen within a few months. I also know that someday, someone may use a card for me.