My friend, Mary Ann, died today of cancer. That's not really true. She died of cardiopulmonary arrest caused by the cancer but you get the idea. I went to see her last night and held her hand. I talked to her even though she didn't know I was there but I talked to her. I talked to her about Pickles and the rest of the girls (she never met Piglet or Opal). We watched the episode of Wheel of Fortune that she was on in 2003. I've known Mary Ann for several years but never knew she was on Wheel of Fortune! She was the daily winner and won $11,000! We sat in silence for a while. She was struggling to breathe. When I left, I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her. I told her to pat Maddie for me, to give her a treat and tell Maddie that I love her. I talked to her husband, Bob, and he told me about when he asked her to marry him. As Bob talked, his eyes filled up with tears but he never cried while I was there. He told me about how much he loved her and how empty his life was going to be when she passed. He talked about being alone.
He not only lost his wife but lost his best friend. You see, they worked together and when I say together, I really mean together. They run Captain Buzzy's Beanery which is a coffee shop in Church Hill. Bob handled the business but Mary Ann was the soul. She was always there with a hug or a smile. Always positive and upbeat, even as cancer wrecked her body. They would work all day together then spend all night together...they were their everything. Bob talked about how hard it has been running two businesses while Mary Ann was going through all of this. He wasn't selfish or saying it was a burden but that it was hard not having his constant companion at his side. He wondered how he could get through all of this. He said he was glad he had good, true friends that were there for him. We were by the elevators and he thanked my for being a friend (I've known Bob for about 20 years). Just before leaving, I hugged him but said nothing. What could I say? He was losing the love of his life and anything I would have said would have seemed trite.
I stopped by the chapel on the way out and prayed. I'm not a religious person but I am a spiritual one and believe there is a difference. I prayed that Mary Ann find peace and I asked Him to speed her passing so that she would not suffer long. I asked that He watch over her and give her a special place to rest and take care of her when she arrived home.
As I was driving I thought about Donna and how much I loved her. I thought about being alone if she died and wondered how I would handle it but I came to the conclusion that there would not be enough Guinness in all the world to drown out the sorrow. When Donna and I talk about dying I always tell her I want her to die first. I'm not being selfish because I want to live. The things I've seen have been enough for two lifetimes and I'm not afraid of death. I want her to go first because if she loves me half as much as I love her, I don't want her to live with that hurt.
Today is a sad day...my friend died today.