Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Friend Marilyn 1939-2006

May you always rest in peace, dear friend. This photo was taken in 1998 at our high school reunion. Marilyn was posing in a "chorus line" of classmates, showing her typical beaming smile and good humor.

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in the spring. It subsequently spread to her liver and beyond; ultimately causing several strokes. I am very sad that she is gone and simultaneously happy that she is no longer in pain.

Marilyn and I met in third grade, when we took dance classes at the same time. We even danced together at one of the recitals. I am sorry that I don't have a photo of that, because we were adorable eight-year-olds in our frilly costumes for "Three Little Girls in Blue" and another one in which our costumes were shamrocks on white satin. Due to the numbers of kids in the recital, we didn't get on until almost midnight, and we were so tired that we forgot half the routine!

We met again in high school, where we were in several groups together, notably the Spanish club. While we were not buddies after school hours, we did see each other every day. The first reunion I attended was the 20th, during which Marilyn and I renewed our friendship. We became better friends after that, even sharing hotel rooms at subsequent reunions. Our birthdays were only a week apart (though she is a year older), and we made it a point to call each other then, as well as several times throughout the year.

The last time I spoke with her was Monday the 17th. I called her cell phone and it was answered by her daughter, who told me that Marilyn had a stroke and couldn't speak. She put the phone to her mom's ear and I talked to her for a few minutes, wondering what you say to a person in that condition without sounding too downbeat. I told her, among other things, how fond I had always been of her, and was planning a trip to see her as soon as I could. It wasn't soon enough, of course. She died yesterday morning at 4:00 am. I wonder if that is why I awoke at 4:30 a.m., unable to go back to sleep. During that time I prayed for Marilyn, but I had no feelings of premonition about her. I wish her well in whatever journey she is now undertaking.

I once attended a funeral in which the pastor said he thinks of death as a ship sailing away over the horizon, and as it leaves our view, it eventually arrives at some other horizon, with old friends and family to greet it on the other side. I hope that is true. Rest in peace, dear friend.
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26 comments:

No_Newz said...

She was a beautiful lady. I am so sorry she lost her fight. Hugs and prayers from me to you today.
Lois Lane

goldenlucyd said...

What a moving eulogy, Kenju. I was so touched. Your beautiful friend would be too, I'm sure. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

cassie-b said...

I'm so sorry you lost your friend.

And I hope she truly is in a better place.

Cas

Sonia said...

Oh! I am so sorry you lost your dear friend. Very sad....

Raehan said...

I'm so sorry, Judy.

It's hard to lose a friend. The good, life-long ones are rare aren't they?

xxxxoooooo

Sue said...

Dear Judy,
I'm so sorry that you lost your long time friend.
May you be comforted by all your good memories...

Terri said...

My deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your friend.
I,too, lost a friend to cancer of the pancreas, when we were both 38. We'd been close friends since 8th grade and when she passed on, it was like losing a part of my youth.
But I like the analogy of a ship sailing toward another horizon...may Marilyn's be bright and may she always be with you in spirit as my friend is with me.

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful way to remember her. I'm sorry for your loss, but like you, am glad she's been released from pain.

Arethusa said...

It's sad that she's gone but I'm glad that you two renewed your friendship and had more good times together.

moon said...

Kenju..I am deeply sorry for your loss...thank you for sharing a piece of your life related to this lovely lady. I lost my best friend to cancer 6 yrs ago, she was only 38 at the time...I think of her often and everytime I do, it makes me smile because of the good memories that pop in my head. I miss her but I am thankful she was in my life, although it was for such a short time.

Maria said...

I pass along my sympathy and realize how difficult this must be for you. It is so hard to lose a close friend and with your writing you have given us a glimpse of a wonderful relationship between two friends.

srp said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I'm sure just the sound of your voice was comforting and encouraging to her.

Star said...

My sympathy to you on the loss of your friend. That was truly a lovely post. I am sure marilyn would have loved it.

Laura said...

I'm so sorry to read this, Judy. And look at her picture, so full of vitality and what a huge smile. She was a most beautiful woman! That is such a long time to be friends...doubtless you both were blessed to have each other.

I loved the ship analogy. No doubt she has found her island and was greeted with warm arms and deep hugs.
My deepest sympathy to you today.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

So sorry to hear about your friend's death, Judy. Her smile obviously did light up the world. May the good times you remember outweigh the grief you are feeling now.

margalit said...

Judy, I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a friend is so devistating. It is the real downside of getting on in years and it totally stinks. Hugs from me.

PI said...

May Marilyn rest in peace. And sincere condolences to you judy.

Merle said...

Hi Judy ~ So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. It sounds as though it
may have been a release for her, so let
us hope that she is in a happier place.
Sympathy to you. Take care, Merle.

Alan G said...

Hi Judy...

My sincerest condolences on the loss of your friend. May she always be remembered just as she appears in the photo you posted.

And congratulations on your blogging milestone. And may the blogging gods continue to bless you with clicking mouse's!

utenzi said...

I'm sorry about your friend, Judy. Pancreatic cancer is fast and deadly. I understand your mixed feelings at her passing. Should I end up like her, I hope to leave the world with grace and while my memories are still intact. Your memories of Marilyn are a great testament to her, Judy.

Granny said...

I am so sorry. I know you'll miss her.

I lost my husband to cancer and I understand the mixed feelings well. Grief for our own loss and relief that they are finally beyond the pain.

Ann

vanx said...

So sorry to hear about your friend.

My 30th high school reunion is coming up—at the 25th in Nov. ‘01, there was a little “shrine” with photos of classmates who had died starting the year after we graduated because of car crashes and ending with a death at the Pentagon on Sept. 11. It’s been five years…—I kind of hope they don’t do a shrine again.

Beverly said...

Condolences, Judy.

Wordnerd said...

Your touching tribute brought tears to my eyes. She's visting with others, now, spreading cheer on that side. And she was lucky to have you on this side.

Carmi said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Judy. I'm sure your words brought immense comfort to her.

May your friendship always bring fond memories for you.

trinamick said...

Just catching up on your blog, as I found it elsewhere and lost it again. I wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss, and I understand the conflicting feelings. My grandmother died of pancreatic cancer in 1992. I'm not sure which was harder - having her die so quickly and seeing her in excruciating pain for those 28 days. My thoughts are with you and her family.