Sunday, February 8, 2009


During our lifetime, we develop many types of friendships: Childhood friendships; friendships while we're in school and college; friendships with our co-workers; and then there is that friendship, with that special person that we become so close to - like sisters - who we share everything about ourselves and our lives with. I don't remember a lot about my childhood friendships, but I have had three really close (adult) friendships that have ended tragically.

In the late 1980's, I worked at Vickers, Incorporated. I became really good friends with Lilly. We were so much alike, but totally different (if that makes any sense). I was married; she was single. I was a nonsmoker, nondrinker and walked a pretty straight line; she drank, smoked cigarettes and smoked pot on occasion. I was quiet; she was loud. I wore my seatbelt every time I got into a car; she called it a "chastity belt". I would beg her to wear her seatbelt. We worked together, hung out together, and went on weekend road trips together. We even had matching sweaters - same sweater, different colors. I guess our differences are what kept our friendship interesting and alive.

I think one of the worst days of my life was in 1988. I got to work and was met at the front door by some of my co-workers, who told me that Lilly had been killed in a car accident the night before - a head-on collision. She was thrown from the car and died instantly. She was 26-years-old. Twenty years later, I still cry just thinking about her.

In 1990, a new girl, Sandy, started at Vickers, and we became fast friends. She had such a bubbly personality. In April 1990, me and my (then) husband bought a house, and Sandy started renting the trailer we owned. In July 1990, I was in a car accident. I was out of work for ten months. One morning, while I was at home recovering from my accident, my mother called and told me Sandy had been killed in a car accident the night before. She was 25-years-old. I actually felt guilty that I had survived my car accident when I had lost two very close friends in a car accident.

I eventually left Vickers, worked at Jackson Recovery Center, left that job, and starting working at my current job at UMC. I had become good friends with Alicia when I was working at JRC, but lost contact with her when I was laid off. We met up again, almost ten years later, when she started working at UMC. We ate lunch together every day. Our daughters played together. We could talk about anything. (She even explained to me how lesbians have sex - oh the things I didn't know!!)

But something was medically wrong with Alicia. She went to doctor after doctor and could never get a correct diagnosis. Alicia looked like she was five or six months pregnant even though she had had a hysterectomy. Every doctor she saw said it was probably her diet. Well, it clearly was not her diet. I tried to get her to go see my doctor, but she was so frustrated with doctors, she firmly said, "No" every time I suggested it.

The Monday after Mother's Day, I arrived at work and was pulled into my supervisor's office, who told me Alicia was found dead at her home the morning before. She had died on Mother's Day. The autopsy showed she died of congestive heart failure (a treatable condition if the many doctors she saw hadn't misdiagnosed her - and yes I am still very angry. This was a senseless death.) She was 44-years-old, with a 9-year-old daughter. After Alicia died, I hated going to work. My days still feel empty (at work) - something is missing.

Today, I have many friends, but I have shied away from developing any really close friendships. Yes, I have friends I can talk to about day-to-day life, problems, etc., but I have been afraid to get as close to anyone as I was to these three dear friends of mine, who all died at such a young age.


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