My friend Edie died yesterday morning, after a two-year struggle with cancer. I will miss Edie terribly -- was already missing her these past few months because when her cancer returned (after an initial course of chemo and radiation appeared to have helped) I did not see her as often. Up until late January, though, we still spoke over email and once or twice on the phone. Edie walked up to me at our gym one day in 2000 and we've been buddies ever since. We started doing long walks together in the warmer weather during which we talked about everything -- men, politics, animals, food, families (she adored her three sons, daughters-in-law and her grandkids) and then men and politics some more.
She had a fabulous sense of humour and when she was first diagnosed with endometrial cancer she was very patient with the fact that I kept referring to it as 'lady-part cancer' (only because I could never remember if it was endometrial or ovarian or...). From then on she would, in conversations with me, refer to it as 'lady-part cancer'. And then she'd let out one of her great laughs. Corny as it sounds, Edie's laugh was something else, as was her smile. If you look at the page I linked to and read the comments you will see that virtually everyone mentions one or both of those things.
One of our preferred topics was politics. Edie was Jewish and a good old-fashioned Jewish bleeding heart. But she began to be disturbed by the thinly-veiled anti-Semitism of so many on the left, particularly following 9/11, and of so many who asserted that they were merely, er, 'anti-Zionist', not bigots. She bristled at the ridiculous claims that Israel was an apartheid state and at the double standards of media and many international organizations in regards the Jewish State. One day she paid me the greatest compliment, in calling me 'an honourary member of the tribe, an honourary Jew'.
She once told me -- and this made me so sad -- that she was afraid to wear her IDF baseball cap or any Israeli shirts or accessories when she went out in public. She told me she got nasty comments when she did, and she also said this made her doubly proud of me for always wearing my IDF t-shirts to our gym.
When my brother died in October, Edie was right there, supporting me and sending me the kindest notes, even though I know that at that point the cancer had returned and was spreading. The outlook was dark for Edie, but she never let on, putting her focus on helping me navigate my grief and much of the family nonsense that followed (and continues to follow, sadly) Alan's death.
If there is an afterlife, Edie is definitely in the heavenly part of it, with my brother and all our cats (including Edie's). So I won't have to worry so much about any of them being lonely. It's just all of us here who are lonely without them.