I have never counted days in a year before. Not like this year. For this promise. This experiment in my head, heart, body and soul.
Each day has meant something profound. It turns out I didn’t know how profound yesterday was — Day 336, December 2, 2011 — until I woke up this morning.
Last night a dear friend passed.
I knew him as CP.
When I first met CP he was in his early nineties. That’s right, 90′s, a nonagenarian. Although you would have sworn he was in his seventies, early eighties tops. The husband of my dear friend Diane.
He had been many things, one of which was a brilliant Harvard medical doctor, still seeing patients when I met him. During my first brunch with Diane and CP, when I was just getting to know him, it occurred to me that he had seen many medical advancements and changes over his long career.
I asked what he thought was the most impressive change in medicine — to which he replied penicillin.
The second time I saw CP, I sat next to him at a dinner party graciously hosted by he and his wife in their home.
As we chit-chatted between passed plates he asked me what I was reading. I was so relieved to be reading an actual novel instead of some sappy, lightweight, chick lit (no offense Bridget Jones) that I practically blurted out “John Adams by David McCullough” onto his dinne plate.
CP looked at me with a knowing smile — not the kind of knowing smile that occurs when you’ve read the same book — the kind that occurs when you know the FAMILY.
A few months later my mid-life crisis hit.
My mariage, my life, my job, everything I knew fell apart in an instant.
Immediately, my dear Diane and CP were there by my side, like true Fairy-God-Grandparents. They sheltered me through my storm in a way only they could — with love, respect and an abundant appreciation for time healing all wounds.
It’s one thing for your 30-year old friends to say things will get better.
It’s more believable coming from a 90-year old.
One night they took me out to dinner at the Harvard Club, surely to lighten my mood. Between my sobs and wails, disappointments and confusion, CP consoled me in a way that only a nonagenarian can.
I will never forget what he said.
“Look at us here. You are upset and don’t deserve this. And, I am so old I can barely use my legs and my body is falling apart. It doesn’t seem fair. But we still have friends. And we have love. And that’s all we need.”
So right he was.
This morning Diane sent me an email, saying:
“Final change: CP died tonight @ 11PM. Someone was heard saying, I’m so proud that he got the best loving care and enjoyed life, till the end. He partook in all his joys, big and small: home, family, friends, pool, medicine, sailing, crosswords, spiritual things, Cha’s mushroom soup, Harvard football (clobbered Yale), Patriots, Margaritas, Chinese takeout, Apple Jack (cider and Jack Daniels), always gracious and grateful for those around him- thanking everyone for their kindness.”
Thank you CP for being in our lives.
The world misses you already.
I find peace in your memory and your love.
And, that, in your own words, is all we need.