Saturday, December 26, 2009


Sometimes it seems that I have been around more death than most people I know.  It has touched me again.   I learned she was sick in June and I called her then.  She had been a nurse when I was an intern.

I had a lot of fun when I was an intern and I have lost a good friend who was part of that fun.  She died, went through pain, operations, loss of modesty, while I went on with my life.

When I was an intern I organized adventures, usually just me and my nurse friends.  We went white water rafting during a low water period.  We pushed our raft for much of the way and the only rapid water we encountered was when one of the nurses peed in the raft.

We went ice fishing together and I lost my Willie Nelson tape into the hole.  We didn't catch anything but we had fun, ice skating, waltzing on the ice.  I chopped the holes with a crowbar.

She got married before the rest of us.  She had a baby before any of us.  I visited her during the height of my bachelor years and remember her yelling at cars to slow down in the parking lot because she had a baby with her.  I didn't understand that yet.  She was happy with her life in a way that made me happy.

She was a poet.

For me, divorce has been painful and the pain of it doesn't end.  Each week I re-live the loss of my children, but it is temporary, even if it is painful.

My friend knew that she would be leaving her children for good.  I don't know what she believed about an afterlife so I can only imagine how I would feel.  I would feel sad knowing that I would not be there for so many things.  I would feel sad knowing that I would not be there to comfort them when they needed it.  I would feel good knowing that my husband was solid and would be there for them.  I would feel good knowing that he would tell them stories about me, keeping me alive for them.

It would break my heart knowing that they would miss me and that I would be gone forever, that they would want to talk to me and wouldn't be able to.  I would not meet their boyfriends or girlfriends.

I'm an older parent.  I sometimes think about the likelihood that I will not be around for much of my children's lives.  I no longer have a spouse to keep me alive.  I can leave a video to tell my story.

I spoke with my friend's husband today and he told me she had died.  I knew she was sick.  I'm glad I spoke with her back in June while she was sick before she died.

She will always be a part of me.  I'm sad that friends drift so far apart.  I'll miss her.


  1. Dan,
    Very endearing reading about your friend and my wife. We shall all meet again in Heaven where she is waltzing with her father.

  2. Remembering PBS
    We met on the night shift in 1985 at St. Barnabas Medical Center. I was a new graduate nurse on 2100 a colorectal surgical unit at the time. She was often in charge, she was my preceptor, my mentor, and role model. She was very compassionate; I saw her as someone who entered the profession for all the ideal reasons one should want to be a nurse. She was very responsible and a-take action person; if there were any kind of crisis on the unit she would be there to help or handle it.

    She was a nurse on and off duty. One of our memorable outings was when a group of us went on a ski trip to Lake Placid. On the way home from Lake Placid, someone at the front of the bus was acutely ill and nearly collapsed. She was the first to assess the person and advised the bus driver to stop at the nearest emergency room. It wasn’t surprising that she eventually left 2100 and went to ICU.

    A group of us occasionally went out on Friday evenings. One evening at Governor Morris Inn night club, a gentleman had asked her to dance, we encouraged her to go ahead; she exclaimed in a whispered voice to us, “but he’s got a wedding ring on.” She kindly declined the dance. As a young lady, she was perceptive and mature, and had good moral values. I respect her for that.

    We had several social outings and events at work and outside of work. A few of my “one and only experiences in life” I experienced with her like rafting and horseback riding at the Poconos, ski trip to Lake Placid, ice fishing (more of dancing and drinking hot chocolate with amaretto on ice than fishing, I don’t recall ice skating, but maybe slipping and sliding; I still have the ice fishing pole I bought that day). There were several Friday/ Saturday night dances at Parsippany Hilton, Rusty Scupper, Governor Morris Inn; Christmas 1985 party at my house; the multiple bridal showers, baby showers, and farewell parties when one of our 2100 family members left, occasional “liver rounds” (I think that’s what it was called) at Ground Round.

    I wonder if she would remember the time when a baby crib was mysteriously found on our unit. Someone found a tiny baby doll (6” long in prone position with bottoms up), we made a chart, and the interns and residents wrote fictional orders [e.g. tap water enemas (“TWEs”) until clear]; nurses also wrote notes and care plans.

    I miss those days when we were young; I wish I could remember them all. At the time I thought I would never forget. There’s a saying that goes something like “you may never remember what that person did or said, but you will always remember how that person made you feel.” My friend always made me feel good about myself professionally and as a person at a time when I was young and insecure.

    I regret so much in having lost touch with her these past 20 + years. I can’t remember the last time I saw her, I probably said either, “bye, have good day or night, see you later, take care,” and took it for granted that I would see her again and not realize it would be my last. So happy that I finally found her last June and had the opportunity to hear her voice (still familiar) and speak to her once more, but so sad to have lost her again.

    My dear friend, thank you for being my friend, my confidant, and my mentor during those brief years we shared together. I have missed you all these years and will miss you even more now.

    With fond memories and much love,

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