Posted in inspirational, On Life, Thinking Out Loud

Dear Friend, I’ll Miss You –

My friend died during Coronavirus. According to the nursing home, she did not die of Covid-19, but while she was sick – we couldn’t visit or even call. She died alone, with only a hospice nurse beside her.

Even before we heard the news of the pandemic coming to America, she was sick and not acting like herself. She lived in a nursing home – and if you ever asked her, it was the worst decision she made. Sometimes, though – decisions are just made for you.

It’s not to say that she couldn’t have done things different. Before she was sick, she was incredibly independent, even in her 70s. She lived alone and travelled from bus to bus to go to doctor’s appointments or on errands. When we’d visit her home, she’d light up like you would not believe. We weren’t the only ones to visit, but you would never know that by the way she reacted. She loved the kids and enjoyed her time with us. Two other families shared their love with her as well. I’ve always been grateful that she knew people loved her.

Right before entering the nursing home, she got quiet. She stopped answering the phone. We lived quite a distance apart, so it was difficult to just “stop by.” We had no way to know what had happened to her. Fortunately, the mailman noticed her change in behavior. He got the landlord to open the door and they found her at home, collapsed on the floor, too weak to speak. Essentially, we found out that she had given up. She started to get sick and decided she didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. When she finally got better and moved to the nursing home, a lot of her independence had been lost.

She had no family to speak of. She lived alone until she moved into the nursing home after recovering in the hospital – but she struggled to be herself between those walls. She had fellow nursing home residents call her racist names and it was awfully hard sharing a room with people who didn’t see things the way you did. She never let that quiet her heart, for she was always a fighter – but still, things are always different when you live in someone else’s home.

We visited as often as we could, and in and around December of this year, she got really sick. The nursing home refused to send her to the hospital and kept telling us – in earshot of her, that we just needed to accept that she was dying. Fortunately, she got better a few weeks later, but it was a long few weeks. During those long weeks, she struggled with memory and would often shake her head as if to try to see what was real and what was not. She started re-enacting history, thinking we were someone else and she was a much younger self. She would tell us things had happened that really did not happen. It was difficult to see her struggle like that.

A month or so later, and she came back in full, glorious fashion. She seriously was more alert and alive than I had ever seen her – and deep inside me, I figured that this might be a sign that she could leave us soon. I’m grateful for that period of time though, even though she did pass away. At that time, we allowed ourselves to be open with one another and I think, for the first time, she truly realized how much she meant to us. I mean, we say things – in passing, but this time it was heartfelt and raw. I’m thankful to have had those conversations with her. I’m also grateful that before she did finally pass away, she was able to be herself again – the strong, determined woman that I always remembered her for.

She has been missed, but I’m also grateful that she didn’t have to see how far things have progressed. It would have been hard for her to witness history as it has been laid before us. It would have stirred up more hurt, pain and sadness that racism has once again reared its ugly head. And like most African-Americans, she was never in doubt that it still lived in people’s hearts. She was always wary, but I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be to see it so proudly displayed.

Still, we have seen people of different colors, religions, and nationalities march together in the streets. We have seem people stand up for one another, when in the past – many stayed silent. In this, I think we do see some progress and I can only hope that in the future we will keep moving in that direction. We desperately need to.

My dear friend, I just want to say I’ll miss you. Despite the different colors of our skin, we were able to feel like family. Despite the difference in our ages, you always made me feel as if my opinions and feelings were just as important. You gave me advice and you were also just as willing to receive it. For that, I am ever grateful – and I know that my children feel the same. You will always be missed – but we will continue to carry you in our hearts.

We are better people because we have known you. May all of us strive to leave the room in just the same manner -making this world just a little better than we found it. Being able to that is truly a gift.

Love, Sumyanna

Author:

Writer of poetry and seeker of knowledge. I hope to inspire and be inspired by my words and the world around me.

10 thoughts on “Dear Friend, I’ll Miss You –

    1. Thank you Leigha. I am glad that she doesn’t have to see how backwards in many ways we are going. It would have been hard for her. And as for memories – we truly are blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

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