Thursday, January 13, 2011
In the middle of writing my "I'm so excited over these apple photos" post yesterday, I got a phone call that my very dear friend Deb had passed away. There really isn't a good way to let someone know that their friend has died. You can't just blurt it out and you can't spend a half hour on chit chat first. The phone call I received was brief, but I asked many questions. I wanted to make sure I had the information correct, that I was hearing exactly what she was saying to me. I wanted zero mistakes if I were to pass along the information, as I knew I would have to.
Are you talking about Deb? Deb last name?
And you said that she had passed? She's no longer with us? She has died?
She was found at home?
Does her daughter know?
Is there anything I can do?
After the heartbreaking call I received, I made it my task to call the people that I thought she was closest to, from our transplant community, that had moved back to their homes.
Actually, I have to admit. I finished my blog post. I was really close to being done and I sort of wanted to process the information I had just received before making any phone calls.
I spent a lot of the evening talking with friends, sharing the horrible news and then enjoying a story about what Deb did that made such a huge impression on them. A lifelong impression. It was nice talking to so many post transplant friends, but it was obviously not the most pleasant way to call.
I decided to post a few select photos of Deb on Facebook with a little note that she had passed, hoping that those who I couldn't get in touch with would see it and get in touch with me. It worked.
I wrote emails, received emails, received more calls and exchanged more information today. We had our usual Thursday morning Liver Transplant Support Group meeting and we were packed to beyond capacity. Our one large circle turned into an inner and outer circle - we had so many people coming together. Tonight, by chance, we had our monthly pot luck dinner. Once again, we had a big crowd. Deb's family didn't make it to the support group this morning, but they were there for our pot luck.
I find it so interesting to hear how our friend Deb was seen by the people in that room. Everyone had their own story of the impact she had on them. A few of the people really never hung out with Deb, yet their story of how her involvement in our support group helped them was powerful. I don't think Deb knew what she really meant to those folks. The Joy in the situation was that these friends told their story to Deb's family. Now Deb's family knows, deep in their hearts, that while she was with us here in Jacksonville, she was loved, admired and respected.
Sometimes I really think that's what a family needs to know - that they were indeed loved by many and will be missed.
Rest in peace my dear friend.
She had a transplant almost two years ago and her death, it seems, was not transplant related. It was probably a heart attack. No foul play is suspected. My dear friend didn't usually take good pictures. It's a fact. I took many dozens pictures of her over the years. It bums me to no end that the very best photo I have of her, the top photo, she has a Christmas tree ornament coming out of the top of her head. Figures :) It's her joke to me I guess.