I lost my closest college friend, Dee, this weekend to cancer. Her passing has left me forlorn. We had one of those wonderful friendships that regardless of the time we were away from each other, we were able to connect as if no time had passed.
In college, we spent many hours talking about the books we loved. She went to see ‘Butterflies Are Free” with me. I went with her to “Hair”. I drove us to heavy rock concerts, she came with me to see Ferrante and Teicher. And movies, we saw so many movies. In a time before VCR’s, college auditoriums, on the weekends
While they experimented with living in Texas, they came to my brother’s wedding. Dee and I took Doug to his first UT football game.
She moved to Vermont and I stayed in Texas. I saw Vermont in the summer, fall, and winter and I love being connected to Vermont. When Howard Dean come into national scene, I could close my eyes and think of Doug and Dean became a real person rather than a flat image on the screen.
Once, they picked me up in Montreal and took me to my first NHL hockey game. I learned about Hockey night in Canada. We skied, both downhill and cross -country. When I buy apples and strawberries, I think of the times we went to the apple orchard and strawberry farm to pick our own fruit. Once, Dee and I drove to Maine and ate our first lobster in the shell on the harbor coast,
I drove to Huntsville a couple of times to see them when they were here visiting Dee’s family. I loved watching her girls grow up in the photos she sent me. I still remember being so aware at Dee’s parents 50th anniversary how much Caitlin looked like the 18 year old Dee I first met.
Dee made me a quilt that I still use and cherish.
In the last 10 years or so, Dee and Doug worked hard to be able to travel the world, a life long dream of hers.
During the 41 years of our friendship, we were apart more than we were together. Yet, there was something so sweet in knowing there was someone out there who knew and loved the real me. Now, she is gone from this world.
We learned of her cancer about a year ago. This summer, we knew the chemo hadn’t worked. With my parents’ health this year, I wasn’t able to make the trip to see her. Her 3 adult daughters were able to come home in October. She wan’t alone at the end, but there is this tugging in my heart that I should have done more.
My special friend will be missed.