In November of last year, my dear friend, Velma, died of lung cancer. She was miles away from me and so i wasn't able to be with her. In fact, we hadn't seen each other in almost a year. My heart was broken.
In the 63 years i have been alive, Velma was the only friend i had who was loyal and true and real. She was my friend for 28 years.
The first 8 years of our friendship we saw each other almost every day, unless she was off on a trip somewhere. The next 7 years we lived in different towns, and so i only saw her a few times a year, usually at the airport as she was changing planes coming or going. The next 13 years i only saw her every 3 or 4 years as she was passing through on her way to somewhere, or on her way home.
But, there were letters. A lot of letters. We wrote long letters, some that i sent her were 12-13 pages long. We talked about everything, the state of the world, men, love, life, and we shared each other's dreams and nightmares.
There was one period, in 2006, when suddenly she stopped writing. Months went by without a letter or a call, then it was a year. I wrote and called, but received no answer. I was getting very worried, when she finally called. She had found out she had COPD and had had a breakdown of sorts. The head doctor she was seeing told her to not call or talk to any of her friends until she leveled out, that to do so would cause her more stress. So, she suffered this breakdown alone. Scared and lonely and sad. Alone. I wanted to murder that so called doctor.
Yesterday, i got this big manila envelope in the mail. It was from Velma's daughter. She had sent the letters i had written to her mother over the years. There is still another envelope coming.
Velma kept each and every one of my letters and cards. Thats a lot of letters full of a lot of words.
I had kept hers too, but it seems so amazing to me that she kept mine.
And she even made notes in some of the margins. She circled some of my words. And under-lined some of the things i said. She read them over and over.
My friend, Velma.
I miss her.