Losing Friends and the Secrets
I've lost some very special people in my life, and those that I hold the strongest memories of are my mother, and my best friends, Rosetta and Merlyn. I’m so fortunate to have some amazing friends who have been supportive.
The impact of grief
My mother did sit me down as a child and explain the whole death aspect and said that they’ll be a time when we won’t all be together, or better yet go at the same time, though the thoughts are dismal and gloomy. In hindsight, I so appreciate what was said, as I needed to remember those talks at various stages of my life and growth, especially with my life with multiple myeloma.
High school chum
My buddy Merlyn, well let’s just say you had to see deeper than her sarcasm. How did we even become the best of friends? I don’t even know...
I can say now, in the hard shell of this tough Bajan West Indian woman was the heart of a true survivor, and her tenacity in life is, I’m sure, what got her through what her life would later subject her to. I learned this death thing young and hard when she died at the tender age of 22 or-25.
I can’t recall the exact age because honestly, it still seems like a dream, how can you die so young? We do know that there’s no age limit on this thing. Merlyn’s passing was due to complications from lupus.
She was the first and only person I knew at that time with a rather newer autoimmune disease. I don’t even know or think I'd heard of autoimmune disease prior. A deeply religious young woman yet so spicy with the tongue, yet so very seasoned about life.
Carried a secret about her health
I think many thought why and the heck are you two friends, as I was rather shy (back in the day- not the case now), some didn’t get the pairing, and it was okay, as our friendship was special. She’s the one that I coined helping me apply makeup and matching shades to my skin. This future interior designer was special, but she held that secret of lupus all the way through the birth of her son.
Her family and I always wondered exactly what her doctors said when diagnosed or if diagnosed prior, She had a huge wedding at the tender age of 20, had a baby right after, and died the following year. But she lived to the fullest, whatever her doctors said or didn’t say.
Middle school home girl
The lovely rose that was Rosetta was more than a friend but my sister. My family adored her, her mom was my second mom. Her dad would say to her "who is that young lady? She's so classy?
We knew things that other people didn’t and the thought of taking those secrets to our graves, which was the case. Rosetta was so kind and would give you her last even when she didn't have much.
Expensive tastes and would want the best not only for herself but her family and friends. I used to call her the "Name Brand Queen" as she loved fashion more than me. We grew up in the hip hop era of the ’80s and 90’s and that fashion was happening back then for those a part of the hip hop culture, bangle shell earrings, fresh and clean Adidas and Reeboks, bright colors matching your attire…that was the thing.
We were there for all college graduations, up to when she got the news she didn’t make the police academy. That could have easily crushed her, but she was persistent to move ahead and make waves, and she did as an emergency dispatcher.
Illness takes another friend
I’ll never forget the call about her blood being tainted and being rushed to emergency, and later spiraling down to renal disease.
As time went on my girl wasn’t as upfront with what was going on, and my life was moving with various career opportunities, I was still committed as a friend, or was I? To the day she died she never knew I had multiple myeloma years.
As we hugged at my mother’s funeral her words, "You better not be hiding anything from me," caught me off guard. but she knew and I knew we weren’t telling our full truths about our health.
Appreciative of memories, but saddened by secrets
I’m so appreciative of the network of friends who care for me as I for them, but those two were an important part of what made me who I am.
I so appreciate the time and memories, but do wish we didn’t allow those secrets from stalling further conversations, or thinking that each of us was alone.
I know Merlyn’s gesture just before she died told me of time passed and where have I been. She didn’t say this in words but her grasping my hand and a tear rolling down her eyes told me everything. Sometimes those secrets can be detrimental when you can’t talk them out with those who are blood buddies.
The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it
Did you ask yourself "why me?" when you were first diagnosed with blood cancer?