Monday, December 04, 2006

How can you explain a friendship that started almost 60 years ago?
How can you prepare yourself to lose that friendship?
For nearly my entire life, I have known this person would always be there for me through thick or thin.
We were young brides and new mothers together.
We stayed close in spite of being dirt poor or walking in high cotton.
We had many other friends but without skipping a beat, we could instantly pick up our relationship exactly where we left off regardless of time or miles.
Three divorces for me and 51 years and nine months of marriage to the same man for her did not alter our prospective of how we related to each other.
We were as different as night is to day yet we were also exactly the same.
We shared history; we knew each other’s family tree and we respected each other’s right to our own religious beliefs.
My friend had cancer. She put up one hell of a fight and she will always be my hero.
In spite of what the doctors told her, she willed herself through pure determination to put one foot in front of the other each day and get on with life.
Radiation and chemotherapy took their toll but each day was the first day of the rest of her life and she refused to quit.
I cannot imagine my life without her in it.
I tried hard not to think about it yet it was on my mind day and night.
She and I talked about how it would be “when she was gone” as if it were hypothetical, rather than imminent and laughed about how screwed up everything will be when the alpha female is no longer around to keep the mechanics of her family oiled and running smoothly.
Losing her physical power and her mental control was bad but not as bad as giving up her dignity during the worst days.
Frustration was ever-present as she struggled to maintain some form of pride and self-respect and she cried when she had to ask for help doing simple things.
A caregiver of others all her adult life, she felt guilty for being needy and took chances, over doing and suffering the consequences.
Some say knowing ahead of time that a loved one is going to die is easier than losing them suddenly.
I have experienced losses both ways and I am still not able to make that determination.
Losing my friend is painful and heartbreaking for me but no matter how hard it is for me, it was worse for her.
I lost one person but she lost everyone …
Her family says she is in a better place and with the angels now.
If that better place does in fact exist, it is definitely a ‘BETTER PLACE” just because she is there.
I made a promise to her and I will keep it … my best friend, my sister, Ardella will not be forgotten!


  1. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Joy, so sorry to hear of your dear friend passing. My prayers are with you and Ardella's family.

    Pam Morrison
    Olympia, Washington

  2. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Joy, as I finish reading your lovely tribute to your life-long friend, my tears flow easily, and my heart is ful of sorrow for your loss. Like you & Ardella, I know that we all have to 'go' some day..... it's just so hard to think of loosing the ones we love so dearly. Please know that I care and will remember you in my prayers.... prayers that I hope will give you some peace and comfort. God Bless..... Lee Jacobs

  3. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Oh Julie Joy - I am so sorry about Ardella. How very hard that must be for you. Please know that we out here that read your Blog are thinking of you.


  4. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Dear Joy,
    I was saddened to hear about Ardella.Our Prayers are with you. Nephew Rick Brown& wife Tammy

  5. Hugs to you. I am so very sorry. I like the "better place" quote very much.

    She doesn't know she lost everyone - she has you all full in her heart.

    I am so sorry for your pain.

    Heartfelt skipphug Joy.