This month, October is always a marker month for me. First, it was when I was born. The real marker for me, however, is this is the month that Jim, best friend and husband for twenty one years died from cancer.
As I approach the date of his last admission to the hospital and then his death, I think it will get easier as time passes, yet, each year as this month rolls around, I find myself once again thinking of Jim and the events that came to pass. I know it has changed my life, yet I am not always certain how. There are the basic real life changes.
- I am single, widowed, or something in that range.
- I have to figure out how to do everything on my own or at least contact the right people to help.
- I sold my house in July and currently, am full timing it in my Roadtrek.
- I don’t have someone to talk to whenever I want. It has made me reach out to my friends more yet I miss the easy companionship we had.
- Learning to cook and eat for one has been an interesting challenge for me. It is not as much fun for me to create a meal for one.
There are many other challenges that could be included here. I think you get the gist of it.
I have been thinking about Jim’s and my friends as this month has rolled in. I am so thankful to so many of them. Without their help and kind, loving support my walk through grief would be very different.
I have been thinking a lot of a good friend of Jim’s, Doug. For the entire time I have known Jim, Doug was a presence in our lives. I heard many Doug and Jim stories from Jim over the years. When we got married Doug and his former wife paid for our honeymoon to San Francisco. We had wonderful personalized tour of San Francisco with Doug and Lisa. They met us at the San Fransisco airport with a car rental and off we went into the city for four days. It was a delightful time.
At our important events Doug was there. The event I remember the most was around Jim’s death. Four days before he died, the phone rang in the hospital room and it was Doug. I thought he was still in the Los Angeles area. He asked if we wanted company and we both said, of course. Then he announced he was in the hospital lobby and up he came.
Doug spent the final four days of Jim’s life with me and him. There was nothing that was too little that he wouldn’t do for Jim. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for me. Doug was a firm presence for me to hold onto as we progressed through those four days. When I wasn’t there, Doug was. He and Jim talked and laughed and remembered times. They also caught up one more time on each other’s lives. When Jim died, Doug was there in the room as a witness to this important event as well. There could not have been a better friend and I want to honor that in this posting.
He remained in San Diego for a few days to make sure that I had my feet underneath me. When he drove back to LA and his life it was with the final words, “if you need anything, just call”.
After Jim died the Doug and Jim stories continue. I received an e-mail from Doug about a year or so ago, sharing with me the phone call Jim and Doug had the day that Space Shuttle blew up. It was a very intimate moment between two good friends. I have no doubt that this deepened and secured their friendship. I was going to share the e-mail with you, here but I cannot find it. Of course.
This is what friendship is about. We can laugh and share the good times, yet it is the sharing of the intimate and in your face painful times that marks those special and meaningful friendships in ones life. It is not often you find that friend who you can laugh, cry and share with over many years. Some may never find the depth of friendship that was shared by Jim and Doug.
Jim was fortunate, very fortunate to have such a friend as Doug. Doug, I think would reciprocate that thought and feeling.
I have never needed to call but I do stay in touch by e-mail and Facebook. Doug travels the world with Nancy, his partner of many years. He leads a full and diverse life. I am glad that I continue to be a part of it even on the periphery.
Today I am thankful for the presence of Doug in Jim’s life and in mine. I benefit from their friendship. It helps keep Jim alive to me and reminds me, once again, how special our relationship was.
Today I am grateful for Doug. Doug-Thank you.