Death is an assured fact of life. No life form lives on forever and if they do then please let us know the secret. I do believe that our soul, what makes us , lives on.
Now inching closer to the two year anniversary of her death , I feel ready to talk about it.
I never really open up about my experience of seeing my best friend dying.
Let me start from the beginning, I met Hershie when I was 17. We become fast friends in the Zeller’s fashion department. We would go out dancing , coffee, or just chill and talk for hours .
Hershie was a very loving, humble and caring person. A hard worker, her life was for her child . Who I love as if they were my own. She was always very positive, love life and god. She also had that fiery St.Vincent passion. Just a beautiful person all around.
The year she passed I was not feeling the greatest so we didn’t see each other for months but talk on the phone often. I was finally feeling better in May 2016, when the symptoms of cancer were manifesting themselves. I remember talking to her and she sounded so sad , she knew physically was going on but couldn’t figure it out.
By July 2016, we got the answer. I remember the text, “I have cancer.”
Cancer would make its self-knowen that year to me as three people I love developed it and 2 survived, which I was very grateful for, but the youngest one did not.
When I saw Hershie on July 26, 2016, on a hot Toronto summer day at her home. I did not recognize my best friend. My gut said to me this will be last time you see her standing. I don’t know why I thought that but deep down my intuition knew what my conscious wanted to deny. She was so skinny. Her exact words to me about 30 mins after I arrived were “My friend, I am dying.” I remember hearing that and needing to step outside. I refused to believe that and actually told her don’t think like that. Retrospect she was trying to prepare me for passing.
I’m sure she heard me outside calling my other close girlfriend saying she going to die and thankfully my girlfriend calm me down.
Of course, we had some hope because she feeling better in August and herself “said I think I may be beating it.”
Labour Day weekend 2016:
I remember having lunch with my friend in Parry Sound when I got the message she had passed on. This was September 2, 2016. I learned on September 3.
The day she passed I missed a text from her saying ” Back in hospital, very serious .” I called Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto about 5 times but got no answer. I did not worry myself into a tizzy, I knew if she was at the hospital, that was the best place for her to be. I was looking forward seeing her on September 9. I learned also that she was the last text she ever sent before she slipped into a coma.
I remember my first emotion was numb.
Two weeks prior, I learned her cancer had a 90 % mortality rate and incurable only a lucky few could slow it down to prolong their life by 10 years. I clung on that 10% and that they find a cure and she would live. Not knowing that her body was being desroyed from the inside out. A Fast acting and ruthless type of cancer.
Back to my emotions: I was numb than angry at the higher powers, sad and feeling guilty that I did not make more of an effort to see her more. Repeat.
I think that was one of the hardest weeks scratch that months of my life.
About a week after her funeral I was sleeping or trying too. Sleep was being a little evasive. I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was being watched at 2 am finally an hour later I passed out . The next thing I remember was seeing Hershie looking right at me in at one of our hangout spots in Toronto with a drink in her hand. She said to saying ” I am happy , Em. It’s okay, now come join me.” And the rest of my dream we were dancing like we use too.
I woke up feeling lighter and things over time became easier. I truly believe she is at peace and still here watching over her child and loved ones. There little indications to this day that remind me she really has not left.
The most sobering lesson I learn about death and dying is that grief and pain though never go away, but you love one is not truly gone. They are forever alive in hearts and memories. Make sure to enjoy the moment, live in the now and make an effort to see and contact those you love.
a little note to my best friend:
To Hershie : Everyday ,I think of you, every milestone in life your memory will be included. My future daughter Liliana and son Matteo will know your name. Your child will forever be watched over and loved by your loved ones. Thank you for being my best friend for your love, care and support. I miss you every day❤️ but know you are always close by and alive in our hearts.