It was close to midnight on New Year’s eve when my phone rang. Zenita, the name of my good friend flashed across the screen. I excitedly answered and in surprise realized that the voice on the other end was not one I knew.
The caller identified themselves as her sister and stated she was sorry to tell me that my friend had lost her battle with cancer earlier that day.
Just as my phone rang my then six-month-old baby had suddenly cried out very loudly, seemingly for no reason I couth fathom.
I was immediately overcome with sadness … my friend had died. She had lost her battle with cancer.
I met the woman who would become my friend in college. We were working our way through nursing school. Both of us were adults with families at this time.
I would later find out that she was stricken with cancer and had been going through this process for some time. She had had bilateral mastectomies and breast reconstruction and a few other forms of treatments by the time we met.
If one was not made aware of her illness, she appeared to be the picture of health.
She would start her coursework, become ill, and be forced to hit the pause button. She would then gain some respite, return to school only to have to leave again. Through it all, she remained steadfast.
Zenita was a soft-spoken and beautiful human being. I would often parallel park her car. She was a good driver though parallel parking proved to be her undoing. So each time we had classes together I would park her car.
Our friendship continued through the years. I went on ahead as she took time out for another round with cancer.
Time marched on and we stayed in touch. I graduated nursing school and began working while my friend continued to fight in between bouts of schooling.
Sometime later we met for breakfast and I told her of my plans to move. She put me in contact with her sister’s friend through whom I could make inquiries about employment.
Even though her life was complicated, she still took time out to care about mine and offer her assistance. My friend had been in the fight for her life for years. I never heard her complain about her circumstances.
She fought a good fight.
Life continued. We spoke regularly and by this time, cancer had given her some reprieve. She had finally graduated from nursing school and was planning to move my way as well.
She flew down for our mutual friend’s wedding and she looked well and healthy.
If you met her and did not know her history, one would never guess at the battle raging beneath.
She remained hopeful.
She looked healthy and beautiful and we had a blast at the wedding reception. We partied and danced the night away. Though for some reason we did not take a picture together. I have never had a picture of her, though I still see her so clearly and hear her voice.
We said our goodbyes and anticipated the promised relocation a few months later.
Soon it was in November, Thanksgiving Day. I received a call from Zenita, but I was at work. We chatted for a short while, then she told me that her family was visiting and asked me to call her later. I promised I would call her on my way home from work.
I did not make the call!
Soon Christmas came around and life was hectic. I had given birth in June of that year and found myself juggling many balls in the air.
Next came the eve of the New Year and a phone call showing the name Zenita across the screen. At the same time, my baby yelped out loudly for no reason I could identify.
I answered happily and the voice on the line informed me my friend had suddenly taken a turn for the worse earlier that day and had passed away.
I was shocked and saddened and when I hung up the phone I knew an invaluable jewel had been stolen from us.
My friend had succumbed to a final jab from the evil known as cancer.
Cancer — How I hate that word!
My friend epitomized the meanings of grace, determination, beauty, and hope throughout.
No doubt a journey fraught with pain, fear, and at times despair.
I never heard her complain with bitterness or anger, she remained stalwart. I do know that one of her greatest regrets was that she may not be around for her children.
I will forever regret the call I did not make.
I think of her often and if I listen keenly, I can still hear her gentle tone saying my name.
She was truly a lovely person. And I miss her every day.
About three days ago I was speaking with a friend of mine. Sadly I had not spoken with her for several months. I think of calling her sometimes, but life always seems to intervene.
So finally she called me, I was at work, but decided to return her call her on the way home.
This is her story.
My friend is 69-years old, she was my boss at one time then we transitioned to a great friendship.
My friend tells me she was ill with pancreatitis for the past two months. Her 25-year-old grandson was ill with pancreatitis at the same time as well.
Pancreatitis is characterized as an inflammation of the pancreas. Our pancreas sits behind the stomach, near the small intestine. It releases enzymes that aids in digestion with a secondary function of regulating how our bodies manage glucose.
My friend (a nurse of over 40+ years), states she was suddenly struck with this dreadful illness and denies any alcohol consumption. Generally, sufferers of pancreatitis often are chronic over-indulgers in alcohol.
She recalls a rough time but eventually made a full recovery.
Her 25-year-old grandson however did not fare as well. While they were both hospitalized, he developed sepsis. He quickly progressed to organ failure and was placed in a medically-induced coma.
At some point, the doctors decided to wean him off the ventilator and he later had a story to tell.
While intubated, he was in the company of three very close deceased members of his family. He was reoriented to the present but kept asking the date. They told him, June 12th and that’s when he told his family that his dead relatives said they would return for him on June 15th.
The conversation was quickly averted and no one wanted to really delve into what that could really mean.
His recovery continued and though he slept a lot, he remained alert and oriented. My friend, (a nurse), said he would call and speak to her and his grandfather daily and always made perfect sense. He even had her speak to the doctor on his behalf due to her medical knowledge.
The family relaxed thinking all would be well.
On Friday, June 15th my friend received a telephone call from her daughter stating her son had taken a turn for the worse. He had coded, with no blood pressure, a lethal heart rhythm, and no pulse.
They were able to resuscitate him and placed him on a ventilator. It was later determined that he was brain dead. His family then made the heartbreaking decision to remove him from the ventilator.
My friend is currently mourning the loss of her dear grandchild.
Final thoughts and questions
I comforted my dear friend with the idea that I think God gives all of us what we need to hear, see, feel, and know individually. The many glimpses of God in the periphery of my life have convinced me of his love for us.
The many recounts of life beyond the grave a testimony to our hope in Jesus.
I remain steadfast.
Though she mourns, she feels comforted in the fact that she has lived a long time and has seen many flashes of God’s miracles, she will continue to trust Him.
So my friends, what are your thoughts?
Her grandson recounted an exact return date, what are your thoughts?
What are your thoughts on life after death?
What do you believe about encounters and reports of this type?
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Mothers: most are wonderful, unselfish, sacrificing, giving, gentle, generous but unfortunately mothers grow old.
When a woman is young, it is usually all about her, once she becomes a mother a godly switch happens.
That tiny bit of God imbibed in her erupts to the surface and continuously flows outward to her offspring.
I believe God made mothers as a small extension of himself.
My mother, my intercessor, my ride or die and the keeper of my secrets.
I could not be a fraction of who I am without her. I am eternally grateful.
My mother, my backbone, my helper, my friend.
What would we do without our mothers?
Where would we be?
A wonderful Mother’s Day!!! To the mothers by biology or by design, it is your day to shine!
God bless each one and their mother/mothers. Amen!
Hello my friends. I am so blessed to have you all in my life. You have no idea how my interactions with you help me in light of our present circumstances.
Being able to interact with you out here soothes and provides a haven for the soul.
For the past several days I have awakened very early in the morning with my mind filled with what-ifs and worry … I usually shake it off, but the accuser stalks us when we are often vulnerable … during sleep.
For the past several years I had been working almost ceaselessly. As I got older I realized the need to make better money choices.
Getting deeper in real estate both in the USA as well as South America required a lot of cash.
I also began investing in livestock as a means to secure my older years.
Last month I made the decision to part ways with my 2nd full-time job so COVID-19 came along just as I was pondering the decision to allow for some “down time”.
What I have gained from social distancing so far:
A renewed relationship with the family.
More “me time”
Time to indulge my love of reading.
Time for exercise.
Going for walks with family.
Time for introspection.
I have a lot more energy.
The kids say I am way more fun.
Things Money cannot buy:
What I am Thankful For:
My Snookums, always willing to help and walk with me
My list just keeps on growing, all the things I was unaware of a lack.
What have you learned from our recent events? What are you grateful for?