Quiet Strength

My Mother is a woman who exerts quiet strength.  There were maybe a handful of times I can remember from growing up with her where she cried.  During those rare times I'd be stopped in my tracks while witnessing something very out of the ordinary.  My heart would break.  If I was the cause of those tears, not only would my heart break but I'd feel like a complete heal.  I remember apologizing profusely if that would somehow purge me of the guilt I felt.

Last night at 5pm I was still sitting at my desk at work.  My Mother called me.  She was calm at first.  Then she said she had some very unfortunate news to share with me.  Her bestfriend Barbara, from when she was 9 years old, was killed in a car accident yesterday.  Then she cried.   I asked her if she wanted me to come home (Boston) but she said she'd be okay.  My sisters and I have known Barbara all of our lives.  She was my youngest sister's Godmother.  She had two kids our age, Richie and Jessie, and then a younger one Danielle, from another marriage.  My sisters and I knew Richie and Jessie growing up.  We lived in the same town and were always at each other's homes.  There were numerous sleepovers and trips to the beach.  Barbara's Mother lives at Cape Cod so we would stay there quite often in the summer.  I still remember that musty ocean smell that filled the rooms.  A few weeks ago in California I walked into a breezeway to get to my meeting room and smelled that same smell.  If I had've shut my eyes, I would have thought I was back at Barbara's Mother's house. 

When my parents divorced 10 years ago, it was Barbara that tried to help my sister's and I through it.  She sent us all cards, which at the time I thought was somewhat intrusive, but I realized later that she was just trying to help us through.  She had been divorced to Richie and Jessie's Dad for many years but the kids were old enough to know what was going on at the time. 

Barbara suffered from horrible emphysema.  My Mom is wondering if she had some sort of attack while driving.  I'm sure all this will come out.  It just happened yesterday.  My youngest sister lives nearby so she is going to spend time with my Mother over the weekend.  My Mom said that she at least got to spend an hour and a half on the phone with Barbara this past Sunday.  She also took lots of trips to the Cape to visit with her friend.  She said she was grateful to have gotten that time in.

Well, I'm really unsure how to end this post so I'm going to leave off here.


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10 thoughts on “Quiet Strength

  1. Emu, I'm so sorry to hear that. My step-mother has been battling a reoccurrence of breast cancer for 5 years now and we just take it a day at a time.
    Maybe in your nana's case, as you get older death takes on a new meaning? I'm only guessing. It seems to me that I've heard older relatives in my family speak that way as well.

  2. Yes, me too. I lost my dad to cancer in 2002 and that was terrible. Would be worse with mum though as she is very much the heart of our family.
    My nana in her 90s is quite blase about people dying. I couldn't believe her recently, ie, practically rejoicing because a women at her lunch table had died so nana now longer had to put up with this woman's appalling table manners!

  3. Definitely. Barbara is the first of my Mom's group of friends to go. I can't even think about what life would be like without my Mom. I feel so bad for her kids.

  4. Glad your sister is close by to comfort your mom. Must be very tough when you get to an age where your friends all start dying.

  5. Thanks Emu. My Mom is completely heartbroken. I'm going to call her today and see how she is doing. My sister is going over to be with her today so I'm sure that'll be some comfort to her.

  6. Thanks Beauty. Will do. And thanks for the hug.

  7. Thanks Pam. It seems somewhat surreal where I live so far away.

  8. I'm sorry, Jennifer. That must be so rough on your mom. My mum's best friend, Ros, is currently battling cancer and I know how devastated my mum will be if she loses her.

  9. I'm so sorry Jennifer – I hope you and your family will find the strength to work through this (i am sure u will) – Please keep us up to speed with how you and your family are getting along when u find time. – Big hug 4 u –

  10. I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you, your Mom, and Barbara's family.

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