This is not a typical blog post. My friend whom I visited regularly in a rehab hospital passed away yesterday morning and I had to honor her in some way. I have nothing of Jackie’s except her memories. Three years ago when I left my “real” job in search of significance, I decided to volunteer to visit an elderly person and to be a companion. The agency hooked me up with Jackie, an 84 year old French lady who had just moved in with her daughter after losing her husband and not being able to live on her own. That’s how the story of Jackie and I began. In these three years I witnessed her physical deterioration as well as her mental deterioration, especially in the last 3 months. She was a constant in my life as I changed direction and focus many times. Jackie told me to write her story and that was the impetus for my writing. I am working on a book and her story is in it woven into other stories.
I will miss her wit, courage, sense of humor and will to live. She was the most determined person I have ever met. She was rough and tough, but we always said, “I love you” when we said our goodbyes. I did say my final and real goodbye to Jackie during the last visit where she was still coherent and sharp. In fact, she told me “goodbye” and she said, “This is our goodbye”. She insisted that she wanted it to be that way. That was in August, and that was truly our goodbye even though we saw each other several times since that time.
I am grateful for having her witness my transition as I witnessed hers. I don’t know if she knew that Obama had won the election, she did like him a lot! “So, here’s to our guy Jackie, he did win! Thank you for being in my life and au revoir, until we meet again”.