My friend Mimi died, passed away peacefully in her sleep.
Though well into her 80s, it’s not a comfort when someone says, she lived a good life. Maybe so, but my sadness still surrounds me like a scrim I can’t quite see through.
She was my neighbor across the hall who, when I first moved in, was the only one who bothered getting to know me.
We became friends in a New York minute, as the saying goes, weaving into one another’s lives despite our age difference.
Then two years ago she was convinced by her nephew, it would be better to move into an assisted living home in Washington D.C. saying she was headed towards early dementia. Let me say, she was sharper than a tack, and early dementia in your 80s is kind of funny when you think about it.
The news devastated Mimi since she lived here for over 50 years, but her family frightened her saying, it was best done now, while she still had her marbles…quote, unquote.
There were other options, yet uprooting her was what was done and if there was ever a time I regret not speaking up, it’s now.
I said nothing as I watched her struggle not wanting to go, but also being stoic, not wishing to burden.
She had money, friends, me across the hall, an extra bedroom for someone to come live even part-time, but kept silent painfully selling her things, giving much away since her new home, though grand, was much smaller.
She called me every day at first, saying she was coming back, she’d try it for two months but knew already she was coming home.
It never occurred to me her family would never allow this though they pretended otherwise, but when they wouldn’t even let her come to visit, then I knew.
I’m weeping, selfishly perhaps even writing about it, but writing is the only way I know how to deal with feelings, dispersing them onto the page.
Loss is such a part of life, yet it never feels natural, doesn’t matter how many times it happens. It’s heartbreaking to know I’ll never hear that vibrant voice again say,
Susannah, it’s Mimi…are you eating?
I’d often find a casserole dish in front of my door. I knew she didn’t cook, like me, the two queens of take-out, but figured, by transferring whatever into her earthenware I’d have to return, there was a better chance of me eating it.
The last thing she said to me was, why doesn’t God just take me? A question she’d ask often.
And I’d say, because your room isn’t ready yet Mimi, that’s why, always hanging up on a laugh.
Well, alas, her room is ready now.
Farewell my friend and at some point, we shall meet again, and just so you know,