My best friend’s mom died today. It wasn’t sudden; she had been ill (cancer) for some time, but it still felt as though her dying came out of nowhere. My best friend’s mother was not old. She still had a teenager at home. She was still vibrant and alive and now she’s just gone. Poof. Sigh. Just like that.
A. is holding it together very well, but I can tell by her phrasing and the fact that she is more comfortable talking to me over text than on the phone that she is truly not okay. I know this about her and I understand. It’s not possible to be okay at the death of the woman who gave you life. It’s not possible to be okay now that the final line separating youth from adulthood has been crossed with the death of the generation before you. She is not okay and all I can do is love her and listen and know that when my turn comes she will do the same for me.
That’s the selfish part of things when your best friend’s mother passes away: you start thinking about your turn in the slowly unfurling vines of mortality. Except in my world it’s less a vine and more a coil of razor wire all deadly sharp because my mother is ill herself. Every time I see my mother she is more frail and every time the phone rings part of me startles at the idea that the call I pick up might be the same one that my best friend got today: your mom is gone. The truth is I have no idea how I will handle it or if it will be with the grace A. is handling her own sorrow. All I know is that she will be there for me.
So for now I do all I can. I check in on her. I notified local friends so as to take some of the burden off of her. I got her a Starbucks card to give her just a small token of comfort. I text her to make sure she’s eaten. I’m trying to coordinate flowers sent from all of us up here. And when she comes back after things are done I’ll be there with hugs and sushi and peanut butter M&Ms and all the comfort I can give. That’s what friends do. It’s all we can do as we face grief.