This week is a very hard time for me. I am visiting a friend and his wife as he is transitioning for his walk across The Rainbow Bridge. I met the couple just about 10 years ago, when they reached out for support to the Alzheimer’s Association, and the association matched them up with me in order to help them adjust to a new city.
I have become very close to this couple, initially meeting for lunches and dinners and other fun activities. Jim, my husband, also became close to them …. as close as he could being that he was in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. After Jim died I also would spend some extended weekends with my male friend to allow his wife some respite time with family in another city, or just a jaunt to her favorite haunts …. a chance to decompress.
The day that was to be Jim’s last day, I called all my really close friends who were near me to tell them that Jim would be leaving us soon. All of them asked, “Do you want me to come and be with you?” Despite the fact that I am a pretty private person and keep my emotions close to my vest, I was proud of myself, because I said, “Yes, please come and spend this time with me”. As Jim’s time progressed, we all huddled together around Jim, taking turns holding his hand, and telling him how much we loved and appreciated him. The nursing home provided cookies and coffee and pretty much left us alone to share this special time, while making sure Jim was getting pain meds so that he was comfortable.
My “Forever Friends” stayed from before lunch, including this couple, until our son arrived (driving in from New Hampshire after nine hours through sleet and snow) at 7 p.m. At that point they all left to give us three our private time together. Jim hung on long enough so our son could hug him and tell him how much he loved him, and Jim crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 7:30 p.m.
Looking back this week at that day, and reliving it, I am so thankful that each and every person was there to support me during that time. That is why I am there for my friends this week. Yes, it was a long and awful day many years ago, but I can’t think of a more loving thing to do than what they all did! They will always be my “Forever Friends” because of that. No matter how far apart we are, or how often we talk or do things together, they are in my heart.
Consider sharing such an emotional time with folks you know who might need the love and support from you by just your being there. You don’t have to know what to say or do, you just have to be there! We all can do that. If we are not on this earth to do that, what are we here for?
Remembering you all and thanking you again for your special gift . . . . . . . .