31 Aug When Your Friend Dies
Last week I cleaned the basement and experienced so many surges of grief that I couldn’t believe it. This week is better. However, tomorrow is the birthday of my friend Ceclia Stewart-Androsky. Cele as everyone called her and me were friends for almost 20 years. We always said that we would grow old together and rock in our rocking chairs and sip ice tea.
We lived a on the same street in Holly MI for many years. Cele stuck with me when I was really sick and nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. She taught me how to drive a stick shift. Cele was my coach when my son was born. We laughed, cried and grew up together. Eventually, she moved to Clio and we moved to Brighton—but we still kept up. She thought that we were crazy when we became Foster Parents—but we were still best buds. Cele was there when Jessica arrived at our home. She thought that our open adoption was crazy too. But we were still best buds. And she was there for all of our adventures with the three teenage girls who we fostered and the kids that we watched for respite care and the emergency placements… At times I thought she might be right about the crazy thing.
I was there when she called me in the middle of the night to tell me she had breast cancer. The weird thing was that the night before she called I had a horrible dream and in that dream she called me to tell me that she had cancer. It took me all morning to shake of the emotional impact from the dream that day. And then it turned out to be true… God was getting me ready.
I watched her struggle as the cancer and the treatment tortured her for 5 years. I was grateful that her family took such good care of her while she was sick. I felt a strange mixture of relief and sadness when she died. She was out of pain.
A few years later when Donald died I was so upset that I dialed her number on my phone and then I remember that she was dead… When my son’s birthday rolls around every year I feel what I believe is my version of being an orphan. Donald and Cele were both there when he was born—now it’s just me. I am hoping that they can look down from Heaven and see what a wonderful man he is. And what a wonderful woman that Jessica is.
It was five years before I cried over her death. I took a CPR class and broke down in the middle of the class and realized that my tears of grief were for Cele. She was a nurse and had told me for years to take a CPR class. I cried for three days off and on.
Yup. When a friend dies you grieve and you have to work through surges of grief for them too. I am so grateful that Cele was in my life because she taught me so much about living—especially when you are actively in the process of dying. And we taught each how to have a strong friendship even when we didn’t agree with each other on a whole lot of things that each other did. Tomorrow I am going to Celebrate my friends birthday!
8/31/1945 – 12/5/1996