Sad Day

It was with great apprehension that I drove over to Port Mouton to visit my friend Deb shortly after I received the news that she had a terminal illness. I had expected to find a depressed, possibly bitter woman who was angry at the world. Ha. Not Deb. There she sat in her lawn chair in the bright sun making a bracelet for her daughter and knocking back a Boost. She was undoubtedly a diminutive version of her former self, but not a wisp of gloom to be found, instead she was smiling broadly and full of news of her children’s lives and her husband’s new business enterprise. It ended up being a pretty typical visit. I only saw her two or three times after that and she continued to amaze me with her positivity and her constant smile. Her expression said “Well. this is a novel experience” and she seemed to approach her last days with a kind of incredulous pragmatism.

Deb left us last night before the sun dawned on the first day of winter.  When I heard the news I didn’t know what in the world to do with it so I dug through my photos to find the scarce few I have of her, and wrote down a list of random words that thoughts of her evoked: competent, smiling, grounded etc. I noticed that I wrote down smiling twice and indeed, now I cannot even recall her face without a smile.

The neuro Christmas party the year the gift theme was a Christmas decoration and almost everyone gifted the same red ball. Great minds think alike! Deb is on the far right.

The Neuro Dept. Christmas party the year the gift theme was a Christmas decoration and almost everyone gifted the same red ball. Great minds think alike! Deb is on the far right. Smiles abound.

Damn it all Deb, I’m going to miss you. Miss knowing that sometimes I could just pop over to Port Mouton for a cup of tea and a chat, miss comparing our concrete sculpture experiences, miss texting you every time make that world’s best cinnamon bun recipe you gave me, miss leaving your house with an armload of rhubarb and the observation that “rhubarb grows well where the outhouse used to be”. Just like Deb to make lemonade when given lemons.

Deb superintends the amazing rhubarb patch.

Deb: superintendent of the amazing rhubarb patch.

The world's best cinnamon bun.

The world’s best cinnamon bun.

One of Deb's concrete sculptures takes shape at Cosby's in Liverpool.

One of Deb’s concrete sculptures takes shape at Cosby’s in Liverpool.

Darn it, I really don’t know what to do with this news beyond sending words of comfort to her family. What would Deb want me to do? Ha. Grab a Timmy’s and a cinnamon bun and take a walk down that winding path to the water that Tom cut for her last spring and sit on that perfect bench of a flat stone and take off my shoes and socks and watch the seals on the harbour rocks lift their heads and sniff the air and watch the swells gently lift and lower the golden seaweed with a soothing hiss.

Deb McLane: colleague, friend, inspiration.

Deb McLane: colleague, friend, inspiration.

So long Deb.

© Judy Parsons 2016.

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