January 02, 2005

And Life Moves On ...

Sooner or later I was bound to broach this topic, and what better day than today, the second day of the second thousand and fifth year?
Losing friends is just such a heartache. Losing friends to death is something quite difficult to put to words but I need to try.
Back in the seventies and eighties, I was graced with the friendship of Nancy. We went everywhere together; explored life together down many, many varied paths. One of our favorite activities was to burn up a dance floor ~ always trying to outdo one another and taking turns at being successful. We had such great fun! Nancy was nearly three years younger than me but it never seemed to come into play. She was a tiny little woman... probably ninety pounds soaking wet... but feisty as all hell and always, ALWAYS comical. I met Nancy through one of my older sisters ~ she was a babysitter hired to look after my niece and nephew while my sister worked. We struck a harmonious chord immediately and spent countless hours driving all over the Island (Staten Island) together ... dining out ... flirting (good GOD were we flirts) ... and just having a grand time. Sometimes we'd just drive over to Kennedy or Newark (airports) and hang out people-watching ~ great places to people-watch!
Nancy was easy going, sweet, upbeat, understanding and quite bright. As we grew up a little more, we kind of started to go our separate ways in between boyfriends and even husbands, but we never ever lost contact and always made some time to just catch a movie or a pizza together and reminisce.
In '85, I moved away from the city and became a mom. Nance and I talked on the phone frequently and in fact, we decided we should take out some stock in the telephone company. She, meanwhile, got married and was quite happy and settled as well.
In early '86, my sister called and asked if she could stop by for a bit. Though we lived only five minutes apart, this was extremely out of the ordinary. She was in the door only ten minutes or so and sat me down to tell me that there had been a horrific accident back home and that Nancy had died. I remember standing up and immediately saying "no" repeatedly, without being a hundred percent sure yet what I was denying. It was the first time in my life when I really understood the concept of something "not sinking in."
Nancy's accident wasn't ordinary by any means... she and her husband had been traveling along the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn on their way home from a relative's baby shower. It was late in the evening and crispy clear outdoors. She had fallen asleep in the passenger seat while her husband drove. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a massive tire from an 18-wheeler came crashing directly through the front passenger windshield and upon her. Nobody knows if she knew what hit her, but her injuries didn't immediately kill her. She lay in a coma for a week with a crushed larynx, multiple broken bones in her face, ribs and collar. Her brain swelled over and over and desperate attempts were made to relieve the pressure. At one point, her brother Stephen placed headphones over her ears and turned on a cassette tape... she immediately tapped her foot to the beat of the music, but never responded in any other way. Finally, she simply let go and moved on.
I thought I would die crying when I learned this news, and don't understand fully how it is that people don't do exactly that. I thought I would never laugh again... but I did. I feared I might forget her face and her voice, but that never happened either. Such dire sadness.
Then living continued. For months and months I imagined it was Nancy calling when my phone would ring late at night ~ her favorite time to reach me. Funny how that can happen. I mean, you can know something full well, and still fight it with all your might.
Writing about this does not make me miss Nancy any less, but it somehow reaffirms my love for her ~ my sweet friend ~ and that has to be a good thing.

More on this theme soon... right now I'm going to listen to some music, tap my feet to the rhythm and witness life as it continues.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you've certainly cheered me up!
A nice sentiment, nicely written.

8:38 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

" thought I would die crying when I learned this news, and don't understand fully how it is that people don't do exactly that. I thought I would never laugh again... but I did. I feared I might forget her face and her voice, but that never happened either. Such dire sadness. Then living continued. For months and months I imagined it was Nancy calling when my phone would ring late at night ~ her favorite time to reach me. Funny how that can happen. I mean, you can know something full well, and still fight it with all your might.
Writing about this does not make me miss Nancy any less, but it somehow reaffirms my love for her ~ my sweet friend ~ and that has to be a good thing."

Thank so much for this. Gives me hope.

8:18 PM  

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