Is with much sadness that I learned this weekend that a friend of mine, who I had lost touch with had passed away. I scoured the internet for her obituary, I looked in public records and have not been able to find anything, except for the actual confirmation of her passing in the social security death index.
Louise and I worked together years ago. We were close friends, and shared many of the same likes. She was an only child, so we became like sisters and after her divorce, actually had her with us for the holidays.
After her divorce, when the drinking really began to take over her life, we lost touch. I was selfish and could not watch as she comforted herself in the bottle.
I would move away and sever the ties that joined us. She did come to visit twice, but each time there was tension and stress because she was pretending that she was not drinking, and I knew she was. We only moved about 20 miles away, but when someone drinks constantly, that drive can be fatal. I began to stop inviting her because I knew she would not spend the night, and I would not be able to accept her death if she were to have an accident.
This past Saturday, when we learned she passed away in the summer of 2007 I let my brain run away with what if's. Did I do something wrong when I turned away from her? Was it wrong of me to cut her off when she was at her worst, and needed support and friendship the most? Should I have tried to do more?
I remember the last time she called, slurring her words and telling me that part of AA was to make amends . . . . she wanted me to accept her apology for being a bad person, and for turning to the bottle. I said there was nothing to apologize for, she just needed to focus on getting better and take care of herself.
Each year, I sent a Christmas card, and would think of her all the time. I wondered what she was up to and how she was doing, but I was too stubborn to ask, or call.
This past Christmas, her card was returned "REFUSED" - I had never seen that on a returned mail piece. I did not know what it meant, and it actually hurt me when I thought she had actually refused my card, my reaching out to her.
Now I know she was gone when that card got to her home. She passed away August 23, 2007; four months earlier. . . now my mind ask:
- how did she die
- was she alone
- was she suffering for a long time
- did she die suddenly
- was she sick
- did the alcohol take her
I cannot stop thinking about her .. .the laugh, the drama, the love for cats, the zest for life, the knowledge she had, her love of travel, her exceptional knitting and crocheting skills, her collection of military memorbilia from the war that was her fathers, her love of Rusty Wallace #2 rules she
We were friends and I let her down . . . . . will she ever forgive me? Will I ever know what happened to her?