Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory that no one can steal."....author unknown
"In every shadow there is light, in every tear, a smile. In death I know there still is life that lingers for awhile."...author unknown
On Monday the 29th, I visited my youngest daughter Tiffany in DC. She moved into a new apartment which I hadn't seen since moving day. I love the building and all of the amenities. She still lives in NW, just a different section. We walked around the corner to Busboys and Poets for a late lunch. Tiffany knew that I would love the food because it's natural, organic and some of it is gluten free. The food is delicious! I spent the remainder of my time in DC catching up with my daughter and her fiance. I plan to go back to Busboys and Poets with some of the "Golden Crew". As Tiffany and I prepared to leave for lunch, I noticed a missed call and a text from Venetia, one of the crew.
The last time that I was with the "crew" was in Charlottesville, VA for a day trip. There were five women and two men. One of the men was my very good friend, James. We had a day filled with fun, food, drinks, laughter and freedom. When I called Venetia, I instantly knew something was wrong by the sound of her voice. I asked what was wrong and she told me that James was in the hospital with cancer. She was extremely distraught and I couldn't get a clear understanding of what had happened. She had just found out herself and called me.
Later that night, upon my return to Richmond, I called Wanda, another member of the crew and a very good friend of James. I was told that James had lung cancer which had spread to the liver and there were two lesions on the brain. He had known about the lungs and liver before Father's Day. He found out about the brain on Friday and was admitted at that time. On Tuesday, Linda (another crew member) and I went to see him in the hospital. I spoke with his sister, Alma, in depth. James called me "First Lady" and I called him "Mr. President". It was a private joke. He and I signed every birthday card that way. I went over to his bed and told him that the first lady was here. He was in a semi deep sleep but he heard me and opened his eyes.
Linda, his sister Alma and I spoke for awhile. The doctor came in and told Alma and James that they were moving him to Hospice for his comfort. He reached for her hand and shook it; always a gentleman. She asked James if this decision agreed with him and he said yes. When Linda and I were ready to leave, we went over to tell him goodbye. Linda grabbed his hand and told him that the hug was from her and Susie, his high school sweetheart. I took his hand and said, "Bear, this is Mickie...I love you." James grabbed my hand, and was lifting it. Linda said he's trying to kiss you. He brought my hand to his lips and kissed it. I almost became unglued. As Linda and I walked to the car, we prayed for him. We were both very emotional.
I spoke to his sister on Wednesday and there was no change. On Thursday I called the hospital and the nurse said that I needed to check with the family. My heart sunk. I called his sister Alma. She told me that he had made his transition a little before 12 am. I informed the crew. I was sad that day but it really hit home for me on Friday. James and I dated awhile in high school and for awhile in 2009. He was a very good friend. He was always the dance partner for us gals at most events. Man, could he swing! He once shared with me that Venetia, Belinda, Betty, Alma and myself all had different tempos when we danced and he had to adjust accordingly. When he and I dated, on slow songs I would put my arms around his waist. After we no longer dated but still danced together, he wouldn't say a word but he would open his jacket. I would say, "You want me to put my arms around your waist, huh?" He would smile and say yes.
James was a part of my childhood and my adult life. It's hard to imagine any event without him. He told Clyde, another crew member, that sometimes he wouldn't feel well but he knew if he didn't attend an event, we would have no dance partner. That was James. We started celebrating birthdays as a crew in 2009. In comparing another party later, James said the difference was that the other person was celebrating a birthday while I had been celebrating life. In 201, he called to see what I was doing for my birthday. I told him that I didn't want to do anything that year. James said, "Mickie, the party isn't for you, it's for your friends!" So I had to accept that (in my Richard Pryor voice) LOL. All of my children met him at my 2013 birthday party. My oldest said that from that one meeting, she could tell that he was a life loving person. He had that kind of presence.
Alma told Linda and I that the doctor said that as James transitioned he would sleep more and more until finally he would enter his last sleep. This quote comes to mind as I reflect on that hospital visit: "And life goes on, which seems kind of strange, and cruel when you're watching someone die." ...author unknown. Life does go on; we still work, play, eat, pay bills, dance, etc. We still LIVE but the person has made a transition to another type of life. I don't believe we die but that we just change suits. I feel James' presence. I hope to feel it for some time if nowhere else but in memories. Please cherish people while they are here, we don't know the day or the hour. RIP, my friend, I love and miss your physical presence.
Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle