July was probably the hardest month of my life. As I am building a career in writing, I had some personal friends pass away. And to make those times even harder, they occurred during the birth of my first granddaughter. I have two wonderful step grandchildren, and I wouldn’t trade them for a million sweet tarts, but this was the birth of the first for me. Special and unique, ten toes and bright blue eyes and all. My little Mack attack came screaming into this life as my childhood friend, Stephanie, passed into the light.
I woke the next morning wore out and strung out from all the coffee and my sister called and read me the newspaper. After I verified with Steph’s best friends, I was sat on the edge of the bed and cried. I had known her since we were in second grade. Funny and smart, talented and beautiful, she had had some hard times, but prevailed, and was finding her way out. A car accident took her from us. Several of my child hood chums carpooled to the funeral and we stayed to talk with one another afterwards. We are going to try and get together once a month and stay in touch. Facebook has been a blessing for things like this.
A week before that, my little Katy… a sweet childhood neighbor passed from an aneurysm. She was 37. My sisters best friend, someone I grew up with and babysat on a regular basis. We raised hell together, played in the creeks, road bikes, jumped on trampolines and had many holidays with. My poor Katy is gone and leaves behind three children. My heart just aches for her mom and her kids. Her brother was one of her best friends, and his wife… she hung with Katy almost as soon as she knew her. They were friends before they were sister in-laws. My what a month. And it didn’t end there.
One of my best friends passed as well. Mr. Bill was a big part of my life and having him gone just rips the very fabric that holds me together. So… I won’t be myself for a while as I heal from all this tragedy.
We laid Mr. Bill to rest a little over a week ago. I put my big girl panties on and spoke to a wonderful gathering of friends. I blubbered my way through in hopes that somewhere he knew that I did what I promised. For a year and a half ago, as I wrote ‘Coffee of Change’ he lay in ICU with heart problems. I would write and then read it to him. He would sleep some more and I would write. And when he woke, I would read the next few pages to him. He told me I would be a success some day. I told him I already was. Because I had great friends like him. He got serious in amongst that week and he made me promise to take care of things. I told him I would. And in the back of my mind, I was hoping that I would never have to do any of this.
Fast forward to July 30th. I hadn’t heard from him in days and I couldn’t get in touch. His phone just rang and his cell went to voice mail. No one had heard from him and I knew. I asked my mom and dad and they hadn’t heard anything either. So, my dad and brother went down on the 31st. My mom called me with the news and I dropped to the floor. My body was still walking around, but my soul collapsed in the living room, rocking back and forth…. wailing.
We were all in shock! And some where in there, my mom called his son. We began planning and coordinating. And some how, we managed to get his home cleaned out and put together a nice service. My Bill was not what you would say, a straight shooter. But he had good values and strong morals. His friends were from low places and expensive rollers. He just could get along with all walks of life. He knew they put their pants on one leg at a time and made sure they all knew that too.
We had some nice letters from folks read by the preacher and we played Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks. Then I made my crying friend speech and his son spoke last. He told an awesome story of a day of golf and how poor Erik had to impress some corporate folks in the days coming. Mr. Bill shot straight and clean, with clubs that should not have been used. And Erik sliced and diced the ball, if he hit it at all. When it was all said and done, Erik broke the club over his knee and threw it in the water feature and Bill dropped to the ground, LAUGHING! We ended with Steppenwolfe’s ‘Born to be wild’, for he loved his motorcycle and we ate until our bellies were full and our spirit a bit healed.
The lesson that day…. Bill taught his son to not let things get to him. Let life come and enjoy…. no matter what. And Erik learned his dad was a heck of a golfer….even in Levi’s and tennis shoes.
Me? Well…. I took to the pages of the computer and started a book about my times with Mr. Bill. It’s currently at the editor and with Erik. When it gets back, I will publish it. It helped me get through the last week. It’s been 22 days with out him and life is less entertaining than what it used to be and I miss my Mr. Bill.