Hearing Sad News While in Iowa

My sadness had nothing to do with Iowa. It just happened to be the state I was in when I received a phone call; my best friend of 40 years died shortly after midnight. I knew my friend’s death was a matter of time. I spent many days, the month prior, with my friend as she lived as best she could after more than a year of cancer treatments and recent major surgery. 

I sobbed while I listened to my friend’s daughter tell me the sad news. Moments like this are horribly sad. But it is a time to pause and realize how fortunate we are to be alive and to ask ourself if we are living our best life. My friend had a very full life … and one which she and I had opportunities to share either together or to talk about with each other during our 40 year friendship. I was always proud of her accomplishments, some of which were: starting law school at age 50, learning to play the piano, helping local organizations, improving upon her ice skating and golfing skills, and being a public school Board of Education member. We both loved books, people, the outdoors, hiking, jogging, travel, Broadway shows in NYC, drinking tea and wine. We always seemed to make things work. And we talked, as we jockeyed around work and family responsibilities which demanded much attention at times.

And here I was in Iowa receiving this sad news. There was nothing I could do to soften the sadness, except to let my tears flow as I drove. I got on with my day, and eventually arrived in DesMoines, set up camp, and connected via zoom with my partner and a friend. Talking with others helped me.

The next day I arrived at my starting point for a bicycle ride on the High Trestle Trail. This rail-trail is 31 miles long; however, I wanted to ride the portion where the trestle is high over the DesMoines River. As I stood at the middle of the trestle bridge, which is 130-foot-tall, I had a flashback of a previous year’s trip with my best friend. My goal was for her to have an adventure away from her home and a break during her monthly chemo treatments. Months ahead, I asked her to choose a place for us to escape to for a few nights and I would arrive from the west coast to take her on an adventure. She chose New York State’s Hudson River Valley. In the scenic Hudson River Valley, we drove by historic homes, walked at Poets’ Walk Park, had dinner at fine dining establishments, and walked the pedestrian bridge over the Hudson River. She wanted to walk the entire mile long bridge. To accomplish that, we started at one side of the bridge and walked to the middle and back; the next day, we started on the other side of the river and walked the bridge to the middle and back. While exhausting for her to accomplish over the 2 days, she did walk the entire bridge!

Now 14 months later … memories of my friend, such as this memory, are sure to happen often … I know this for sure! How can one ever forget 40 years with a wonderful friend, our shared adventures and varied happenings during all those years? I will remember!

My friend at Poets’ Walk Park!
My friend walked the entire bridge’s length!

3 thoughts on “Hearing Sad News While in Iowa

  1. ‘Tís ever so sad to lose a friend. Grief is a blue emotion, mixed with black is quite painful, yet textured in white mirrors the heavens above and the crystal oceans. May your memories be as the latter.

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