This time of the year I receive a call from my friend G who lives in Texas. The other day I thought, "I'll surprise G with a call from here." Then I remembered: G died from cancer in the summer. I knew I should make the call to check on her husband, B. Their daughter answered to say that her dad had died a month after her mother of an aneurism. Gone, two special people.
I'd met G during classes in 1959 at Mexico City College in Mexico, D. F. There was a six-weeks session given in Spanish. She and I shared one grammar class and ate together for lunch. This was the only time we could speak English. She'd tell of living with a Mexican family and I'd share my living experience in a motel-like setting with a huge dog who only understood Spanish.
At the time she was a college student and I was married and expecting my first child. The ages didn't seem to matter. We shared the fun of learning.
When we separated we stayed in touch via letters: her graduation, her marriage, her children. Then emailing developed and we kept in touch more easily. We both continued to learn. We planned to have a reunion 25 years later at Mexico City College, which had changed its name and moved south of Mexico City. I couldn't spare the six weeks, a disappointment for me. She went alone and kept me up-to-date on her experience.
I saw her after that reunion-that-didn't happen, when our family traveled to Dallas on our way west for vacation; she in turn with her husband visited us years later on their way home from a conference. Then it was back to emails.
Her last contact with me was by telephone: "Vivian, I'm calling to let you know I'm dying. I don't have long to live. I want you to know how much I've appreciated your friendship." I found few words to reply, but I did with, "Are you OK with this situation?" She said she was surprised that she was. She worried about her husband who wasn't well.
She entered hospice and died a month later. Her husband called and that was the last time I heard his voice.
Dying is difficult on those who remain alive. I miss my dear friend.