Sometimes the thing that stays in your mind for the week is not about yourself but about someone else. This story is so unusual, happens to so few of us, and was handled so well, that I felt I would be remiss not to share it…just in case any of us find ourselves in the same situation.
This peripheral blog is about my sister, Kris, and her friends (I have changed the names to protect the innocent). Recently, Kris nonchalantly called me on the phone and after a few minutes, casually says, “Well, I had an unusual week.” Do tell sister.
Just Another Girls’ Trip to the Lake
Kris said it was her girls’ annual trip to the lake. On the first morning, she and one of her friends awoke early to visit. After hours of coffee and tiptoeing around, they decided to start the day by waking their other friend with a festive Bloody Mary. My sister was in the kitchen stirring up the libations, when her morning coffee partner returned and said, “I can’t get ‘the late sleeper’ to wake up.”
They both went to the bedroom and shook their friend. Nothing. Then they checked for a pulse. Kris said, “Heck, I can’t even find mine own pulse. So that was no help.” I asked, “Was she cold?” To which Kris replied, “A little, but she sleeps with a C-pap machine and mask, so we thought the coolness of her skin could be due to that.” Their denial was so deep.
After much debate, Kris and her girlfriend called 911. A sheriff deputy arrived first, took one look at their ‘sleeping’ friend and said, “We don’t need an ambulance, we need a coroner.” Their friend was dead from a heart attack.
Upon hearing the news, my sister said she felt a clarity and calmness come over her as her other friend began to reel from emotions. Kris told her friend to go take a sip of the Bloody Mary they had prepared earlier, to help calm her nerves. But her friend replied she’d thrown them down the sink, because she didn’t want anyone to think poorly of them for drinking while their sleeping friend laid dead in the other room. Wait! What?
(When later, I called and told my husband the story, he said, “Thank God they didn’t try to hide the body.” Wait! What? He’s got to stop watching crime dramas on TV!)
Celebrate a Friend
After the coroner removed the body, my sister and her friend called the deceased’s adult children and their respective husbands with the news. Then they sat down to think. What next?
They decided to stay and spend another night together in the lake house, to bond over the experience, celebrate their friend’s life, and whisk away any bad feeling that might have lingered in the home had they left with unfinished business.
The next morning, they arose to bless the house and the life of their friend who they now felt honored to have been with as she left this world.
They returned to their homes and their husbands with no lingering regrets. Only memories and a bond that, in this life, few of us will ever know.