This was the answer to the question, “How are you doing?”
And I totally knew how he felt.
Saturday, June 25th, as I was getting in to my car, I got a text.
“My mom passed this morning. I left your mom a voicemail.”
My heart sank.
That text was from my friend whom I have known since I was 3. We had lived across the street from each other and her family and my family spent a lot of time together. Many great memories I have are with her. Her parents would watch us in the morning before heading to the school bus and we’d play Atari. My parents would go to her place for “cookies”. That was their secret code word for “beers”. I don’t think it took us very long to figure out what they were up to.
Her mom had been battling cancer for a long time and that morning, she lost her fight. My friend was glad that her mom was now at peace.
The next Tuesday was the visitation and Wednesday would be the funeral. Due to a conflict with work, I wasn’t going to make it to the funeral.
I arrived at the funeral home that Tuesday night and my friend and I had a big, long hug. Even though we haven’t been as close as we were where when we were little, we’ve always managed to keep in touch and still care a lot for each other.
When we finally stopped hugging, she said to me, “This is a little close to home for you, isn’t it?”
And with a big sigh, I agreed. My Dad passed away 6 years ago on July 2 and was only 58. Her mom passed away June 25th and was only 61. Losing a parent is very, very hard. And I know all too well the roller coaster of emotions that this family will be going though as they grieve.
She let me know that she and her mom were able to say what they needed to say to each other and she said goodbye to her mom with peace in her heart.
It took me a while to approach the casket. Her mom had gone thru some surgery to try to get rid of the cancer and it left her face a little disfigured. I didn’t want to remember her that way. I did manage to say goodbye, while still remembering her the way she was.
My friends’ dad also had given me the biggest hug. He’s been such strong husband and father through all of this. But I think I saw a glimpse through his hard shell, when I asked him, “How are you doing?” and his reply was
“I don’t know yet”