Yesterday morning, I received an email that my longest friend had passed away from cancer. Dave and I were friends since we were four years old. My mother and his mother were friends and we were considered ‘pioneers’ on Mercer Island, a soon to be lovely suburb of Seattle. By the time we were five, we were in love and even slept next to each other in Kindegarten. We had our blankets next to one another as we were to have our afternoon naps and our teacher would often stop by and tell us we had to stop talking and giggling. We should take our naps for we were disturbing the other children.
Dave continued to be my ’boy friend’ right through most of grade school. We would play tag on the playground and I can recall playing among the Madrona trees with their red peeling bark that fell to the ground. It was crunchy and if I close my eyes, I can remember the fragrance of our play areas and little ‘camps’ we made in the woods. I was so fortunate, for every girl in school was smitten with him. But when Joy moved to the island, in junior high as I recall, he was in love for real and for the rest of his life. She was a lovely, slender girl with blond hair and the sweetest nature. She was loved by everyone and she always had a kind word and a smile for every person she knew.
They married in their early 20’s and built a beautiful life together. They had two children, a boy and a girl and I recall seeing Joy once or twice when I was out shopping and she had one of the children with her in a stroller. Dave worked for the telephone company for most of his adult life and took an early retirement. Trips up to Alaska to fish were among his favorite pastimes along with working on their longtime project, a vintage Seattle home…
Well, sadly, seven months ago, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and he had made Joy promise him that she would keep it a secret. She had told one of my closest friends, Sharon and it was she who sent out an email to all of us, yesterday, only after she had gotten permission from Joy. Even though, Sharon and I had gone to a convention together in March and we talked about Dave, she still kept her promise to Joy and did not even tell me then how ill he was.. When I read the email yesterday, I was totally in shock and have been reeling with sadness ever since. I did work yesterday and that was a good thing, but every time I think of Dave I am so sad. It was so difficult to be at work, but it was actually a welcome distraction. When I was through with my shift, my boss took me aside to ask what was going on with me. I told her about my former husband’s struggle with cancer, for he had just recently had part of his lung removed and the loss of my oldest friend, Dave. The sadness of loss was still too raw for me, during these first few hours of realiziation that I would never seen him on this Earth again. When I left work, I felt completely drained as I was finally able to let my feelings go a little. I headed for home the back way instead of on the highway. I stopped at MacDonalds and picked up a vanilla shake to drink during the ride home, since I had missed lunch. I drove through town, then took the road that meanders through the rural neighborhoods as I slowly drove home. Dave was in my thoughts and the few times I had seen him over the years. The class reunions and the little visits with him and Joy and just knowing that a friend like he would always be a friend for life. He was so heavy on my mind as I gave myself permission just to remember him and those times shared together so many years ago when we were children.
When I was about a mile from home, I noticed that traffic was stopped because of a little Siamese Seal point cat who was trying to cross the divided roadway. I felt an immediate fear for her safety. Her colour was very light and her points were very dark and one could see this was no ordinary street cat. She was just too beautiful and elegant. I saw someone get out of their car and shoo her back up onto the sidewalk, but it was clear that if someone did not do something, she was going to be run over. The road was lined with a sidewalk, grassy strip and a tall chain-link fence. I could not imagine how this little cat even got here. I pulled over into the bicyle lane and left my car running with my blinkers on. I called Animal Services from my cell phone and told them I would stay with her until someone arrived.. When I tried to approach her, she would run, so I just kept a safe distance from her, but kept her attention by talking to her so that she would not venture out into the road again. She kept meowing over and over and I could not help but wonder if she were injured in some way or was she just talking to me? . She had the distinctive Siamese meow that one cannot ignore. I continued to talk to her and she responded by answering me. As the minutes passed, I inched closer and finally, she just relaxed and flopped on her side on the sidewalk. Her breathing seemed a little labored and she even closed her eyes. Was she alright? I watched her and got a little braver by coming to an arm’s length from her. Keeping my own cats in mind, I had decided not to try and pick her up just in case she was not well and had something that might be contageous. I observed that her eyes looked quite infected and under her fur, she looked very thin. I reached over and plucked some tall grass with a big seed head on it and just tried to engage her attention with it. Hoping that she would play, but she just layed there, enjoying this attention. Traffic stopped and several people inquired if I needed help, but soon saw that I had the situation well in hand. I thanked them for stopping and continued talking to this lovely little creature. After about five minutes, she got back up and now wanted to rub up against my leg and I was feeling blessed by her responsiveness. I smiled and kept encouraging her by talking to her and just thought this had to be an Angel from heaven that had come to rescue me from my sad thoughts of Dave. For the first time since early this morning, I was completely focused on this little lost cat. I was not rescuing her, but somehow, she had shown up in time to rescue me. She continued rubbing against my leg and purring and voicing soft little meows.
Soon, Animal Services arrived and we successfully got her into a box and I knew she was in good hands. The driver had tried to see if she had a microchip, but there did not seem to be a reading. As I watched the big van pull away, I promised myself that I would go to animal services tomorrow just to see how she was doing and what the story was about her. Maybe she needs a home….
Now it is early morning and as I reflect on yesterday’s events, I truly feel blessed. I feel blessed by a special friendship during childhood with a boy who I adored and not only loved me in the sweetest of ways, but that he had grown into the kind of man every girl dreams of. He had married Joy, his high school sweetheart and they had shared a beautiful life together, always being true to who they were and are. The sadness is a dull ache and there is still a lump in my throat as I think of Dave dying before his time and the deep sorrow and numbness that our dear friend Joy is feeling without her life partner and how their children must be coping. Wondering if there is anything I could do for his family other than the constant prayers that are running though my mind and heart. I am hopeful that inspiration will come to all of us who are life long friends to Dave and Joy. Perhaps a lovely tree for their yard or even help Joy in restoring the house that they both loved so much. I know that inspiration will come.
Meanwhile, I think I will take a run down to Animal Services and see if there is a little Siamese cat that might need a home.
Let me see……… I think I will name her ‘Angel..”
Reflections upon a life long friend and an angel who stepped in to bless me…
Featured in ANGEL WINGS AND HEAVEN group on 05 July 2010