We found out our friend Sandy died when we saw someone bring a large boquet of flowers into The Second Read in Rockland, the bookstore where her partner works.
Sandy found out a year ago she had cancer. She was told she would likely live a year, and the prediction was very close to exactly correct. The original tumour was a kind of cancer that is easily treated if caught early, but it wasn't caught until it was too late and it metastized to her liver. It was the liver cancer that killed her.
We haven't gotten to know that many people since we moved to Maine in January of 2001. But two women we have gotten to be close friends with were Sandy and Yvonne. Now Sandy is gone and Yvonne is left all alone.
My wife Bonita, an art student, enjoys pottery and ceramic sculpture. She invited Sandy to take a pottery class with her a few months ago. Sandy enrolled in the class with the full knowledge that she would die soon. It turned out that Sandy had a college degree in pottery, and was turning out the most amazing work with blazing speed in the class. She really enjoyed herself and was very glad that Bonita had invited her. Sandy hadn't worked with clay for sometime and had thought that she never would again.
We visited Sandy and Yvonne at their apartment last week. Yvonne had called to say that Sandy had gotten suddenly very sick. Before that she had been doing quite well and had even been traveling to visit her children. But quite abrubtly her liver began to fail. Her doctor said she would not last long.
When we visited Sandy couldn't even look up from the bed. She was very weak. Bonita and I each hugged and kissed her.
That was the last we saw her. We meant to return in a day or two, but with things being very busy, we just didn't get it together to do so.
Is there anyone in your life you've been meaning to visit? Go visit them.
Is there anything you've been meaning to say to someone you're close to? Say it. While you still can.
Remember from my earlier diary entries that we made a long visit to Newfoundland in June to visit Bonita's family, and then a bunch of them visited us here when we returned. This was a big strain on us financially. We really couldn't afford it. But Bonita hadn't seen any of her family in a year and a half. One of her nieces is graduating high school next year and this was likely the last opportunity her sister's family would likely have to all take a vacation together. It was more important that we had this visit than that we be able to afford it.
I haven't known Sandy very long but I've been very fortunate to have known her at all. I will miss her.
I can't possibly imagine what it is like to spend a year of one's life knowing that one will almost certainly die soon. That Sandy was courageous enough to relax and take time out to have some fun throwing clay speaks volumes about her.