Last night, as I sat down at my computer to type about my day and dig into the world of blogging, I received a text message that stopped me in my tracks. When we talk about best friends, we often discuss the person who has most recently been involved in our lives in our current situation. That’s not the case for me. When I discuss my best friend, I am speaking of a person who has rarely, since our adult lives, been involved in my current situations. She has her own. However, since literally before I was born, we were pre-set to be there for one another. If best friends were included on a family tree, our families would be overlapped for generations. This girl, this woman, has been in my life and the one person who, regardless of my situation or hers, has always answered her phone.
Last night, when I looked at my phone, I saw all of that disappear. Unresponsive! Likely brain damage! Life support! Pray! These are the words that I saw and the rest of the night all I could think was that her son graduates high school this year. We have trips planned. I NEED HER! Quickly I made some arrangements for my grandchildren and my daughter took off work so that we could make the 10.5 hour drive to go say our goodbyes. I have not made that trip in a long time. In fact, the last time I saw her was over a year ago at a funeral because we never let each other go to these things alone. Before that, I had been busy with the grandbabies and, even though we were only a few hours apart then, just never seemed to make the trip.
Last night, in the face of her death, I was preparing to make the trip. I was not going to let her die without me getting to say goodbye. This was not for her. She was unresponsive. She may not have even known that I was in the room. But I needed to say goodbye. To somehow relieve my own guilt of not being there more often. To somehow diminish the loneliness that I was sure to face once she drew her last breath.
Last night, I did not know what to pack. Do I pack clothes to stay at the hospital? Should I bring a blanket since the ones that they have there are so thin and often smell of sickness? Should I pack a nice dress and shoes for a funeral? Would I be attending this one without her by my side? I did not know what to do but I knew I had to go.
This morning, against all odds, my best friend woke up! She woke up alert and recognized everyone that was by her side. She cried when her mother told her that I was planning to drive up and smiled when she told her that I love her. My friend is going to make it. She has a long road ahead, but she IS going to see her son graduate. We ARE going to take those trips.
This morning, I considered the long hours of the drive. I thought about the traffic left over from the eclipse. I wondered if I should put the trip off until she is released from the hospital and maybe feeling better so that she could enjoy the company better. Wait!!! What did I just say? Only a few hours ago, I was ready to drive straight through to say goodbye and now I am thinking about the laundry that needs done and what the grandkids might need? I had this covered to relieve my own grief but reconsidered when all was fine?
This morning I realized that last night could happen at any minute. Any time could be our last time. Every time could be our goodbye. Next time there may not be a moment to make a choice about a visit to the hospital. Next time may not come when I am able to cover things at the drop of the hat. Next time may come all too soon.
We will be leaving first thing in the morning. We will be driving and telling stories about my friend. When we arive, whether or not she is alert and ready for company, I will sit by her side and tell her exactly how much she means to me. We should not wait until someone we love in unresponsive. We should enjoy their response, their time, and their impact that they have on our lives today!
Live and love as if it were last night,