I am devastated this week after hearing of the sudden and unexpected death of a dear friend. The initial shock is fading, but I am still having difficulty believing that she is gone from my life.
Although she started out as a client in my gardening business, …..we quickly became friends this past season. Her husband had passed away a few years ago so she needed someone to help with her landscaping. She was a kind, caring, compassionate, gracious, witty, funny, loyal woman and great fun to be around. Although this link is not about her, she was definitely one of the inspirational clients I have had the pleasure of connecting with through my business. I stopped by her place at least once a week during the gardening season to work on her garden or sometimes just for a cup of tea and a chat at the end of my work day. She discovered and nurtured my love of Indian food; every time I was at her home she would offer a new “treat” with my tea. If I did not call her or stop in for 3 or 4 days, she would call me to say she missed me.
We had lots of plans for 2017. We had started to spend more time together when my gardening jobs were over for the season. Together we attended meetings of clubs she belonged to and went out to lunch often. She wanted to introduce me to the “best Indian food in Ottawa” for our next lunch date and I had promised to take her to the restaurant that my eldest son is getting married at this coming June. I was helping her sort through items in her basement and showed her how to sell them on Kijiji. She gave me some beautiful silk her husband had purchased in India; I was planning to make blouses or dresses for her granddaughters with the silk.
She often mentioned that she believed in destiny and fate. She was certain her late husband “found me” by advising her to reach out to our local horticultural society, which in turn referred her to my gardening business. I could tell by the extensive array of gardening tools and the conditions of her gardens that he was a garden lover like me. She often told me that he would be so grateful and happy that she had found me. She missed her husband dearly and was certain they would be reunited someday. As I was power washing her front sidewalk one day, she wanted me to show her how to use the power washer so she could continue when I left. I cautioned her about the dangerous combination of water and electricity, advising her not to let the machine or her feet stand in puddled water as she worked. She simply smiled serenely and said “I believe my fate has been predetermined”
I visited her the day before she left for her trip to help her finish packing and wrap some presents. As usual, when I left her she thanked me for my help and support. I have thought of her often these past few weeks, believing she was enjoying her time in BC with her son and his family. I looked forward to hearing all about the trip this week. I feel awful that I did not somehow feel her passing and that I missed her memorial and funeral services. I have no idea how she died; I pray that she did not suffer and hope she was surrounded by her beloved family.
Although she called me her “daughter by another mother” I am selfishly feeling more like a mistress in an affair. I only know her family from the stories she told, and have never met them. I have no idea how much they know about me either. Although my husband and sons have heard me talk about this friend and sympathize with the grief I feel, they never met her.
I guess this post is my tribute to her and our relationship. Rest in peace my dear friend, I will always remember you fondly. Say hi to Dave (her husband) for me, but tell him I wish he had shared you with me longer…