Every year for decades I ring my friend on her birthday, 31st October Halloween, to me that was the only thing good and special on that day. Before when we went to the same Place of Worship I saw her all the time, she was already married when I first met her and her Husband, they had the same name, both were called Sam. They have two Daughters, I baby sat their little girls when they were toddlers, twice. They have a lovely home, two cute little daughters and they a lovely couple. No one who knew them from work or from our Place of Worship had an unkind word to say about them. They were well suited.
Then over twenty years ago, I got married and moved away to a different town so I didn’t see them anymore, so instead I always rang Sam on her birthday, Halloween, it was always in the evening as mornings in most household can be hectic, so there’d be no point ringing then to wish her a happy birthday. So, it was lovely on the evening ringing, usually their land line, for if there was no reply, then around 9pm they’d be back home from her birthday meal, for they were not night owls like myself.
Both our kids grew up and theirs, got married and moved out, one of their daughters had a handsome little boy.
It was always great catching up with Sam on her birthday, we always asked how we both were, my Husband would usually be in the room when I called her as was her Husband Sam too. I’d always end the call after about ten to fifteen minutes with these words, “I’ll phone you next year.” It was a great tradition that we had going. I never did phone her in between, that would spoil it, even though I’d somethings think of the family. Her lovely daughters are on Facebook.
Then last year on her birthday, Halloween I already knew she had cancer, I asked her, “How are you?” She went on to tell me, some info but not going into too much detail, in general she said she was, “OK,”
About six months ago I heard she was quite poorly and saw pictures of the whole family on Facebook, she was still smiling, they all were.
Sam died two months ago, it was a huge shock and a massive funeral, so many people had come to celebrate her life from all over the World, as well as friends from work and those who had Worshiped with her from the various places she had been in her life, which wasn’t many. It was lovely to see friends, who’d moved away and were now united in love for Sam. At the Place of Worship there was a huge screen with pictures of her and her family, Hubby Sam, two daughters, their Husbands and her young grandson, too young to know she’d now died. And reminder how cruel cancer is, some photos showed her on holiday, somewhere lovely and warm with no hair, still smiling, and many other photos throughout her lovely life. She was SO kind and sweet, she was such a gentle soul, she was testament to us all, there were hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages ranging from young to very old, they had to pay their last respects to her, had to! Few couldn’t go to the wonderful Wake after the funeral, but they were at her funeral, there were two charities that we could give to that was her only request, not flowers, just monies to these two charities, one been the hospice, I gave to the hospice, what an amazing place that is, I went to one once, many years ago to visit someone from work. The two dishes were filled to overflowing, how Sam was loved!
I said to Sam her Husband, “I’ll phone you on Sam’s birthday and talk about Sam.” I was at work, and put a note on my desk, “Sam’s birthday,” As I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget! I did shed a tear on the morning thinking of her, and her Hubby, I can’t imagine, how empty he must feel all alone now in the family home. No one smiles behind closed doors, that’s when tears flow and stop and flow some more. I did wonder if I should phone him? Would it be too painful to talk? If I didn’t phone, would he think I’d forgotten her, so soon? I wanted to ask someone’s advice, but it was our tradition, only once did I not get her on her birthday, I did ring, but didn’t get her, then she rang me to explain, and that was last year, I remember now, she explained she was too ill to take my call, and rang me a few days later, little did I know it would be the last time we would speak, never again would I hear her gentle voice. Sigh.
So tonight, Halloween I watch the clock, and with heart beating fast at 8.40pm I rang his mobile number…….. it went to voicemail. I more than understood, he must be distraught.
Their granddaughter was born a week after she died. Will I phone next year on Halloween? I don’t know yet, I don’t want him to think she is forgotten. She’s now out of Time, and out of pain, it’s those who remain who has the pain.