I talk to my mom, a.k.a. the Babushka, everyday- sometimes twice a day-sometimes three times a day. Most of the time it’s the same conversation- how’s the weather, what did the Kid do and say today, I made a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it, so and so fell down and went to a nursing home.
Friday night was different.
“I have some sad news.”
Oh shit, I just figured another friend had died. I mean- my mom is 87 and members of her old lady group have diminshed tremendously over the last couple of years. So, I only vaguely braced myself for a name like Edna or Josephine.
“Jimmy’s wife died.”
“Jimmy’s wife died.”
Really long pause.
Rendered speechless kind of pause.
Then my mom said…
We had a short discussion about the details. One neighbor knew this and another knew that. Mom was going to call Jimmy’s aunt. I was going to look up the obituary and give mom the info about flowers or a donation. I was holding back my tears because if you cry in front of my mom (or on the phone) she always cries too and I just wanted my own tears.
Jimmy and I grew up together- he was a few houses down with his mom and brothers. His dad had passed away long ago. His grandparents (whom I loved loved loved) lived across our tiny street. Sometimes I could hear Jimmy screech his bike into their driveway and more often than not when he raced away from their house I could hear his grandmother yell, “Jimmy, you better get back here!”
Looking back I now realize the idyllic neighborhood in which we grew up- tearing around on our bikes, watching the Fourth of July fireworks over at the playground, ice cream at Dairy Queen, ice skating on the weekends. Jimmy and I were even student council officers together. Don’t get me wrong, there may have been a beer or two during our high school years. But we lived in a good place. And we were good friends. And we were good people.
As the years flew by and states separated us, I did manage to get updates from his mom (one completely fabulous lady who raised three fine boys) about all members of the family. It was fun to catch up albeit vicariously. Jimmy’s life seemed so beautiful to me- a wonderful wife, four kids- I have always been so happy for my friend.
The news about his wife shocked me because there is just nothing fair or reasonable or sane about his wife dying when they have so much to live for in their beautiful lives. Why should Jimmy be without his love and why do four children have to grow up without their mom?
Answers? No amount or quality of wise explanation can make this feel right. My heart hurts for them, but that is no help or comfort at all.
Several weeks ago I posted this about the death of one of K2′s moms. I included a part about Jimmy walking me home with his arm around my shoulder like the good buddy he was during our school days. I truly wish I could reverse the roles right now and put my simple arm around his shoulder and quietly walk home.