Friday, March 06, 2009

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Tomorrow I am, sadly, going to the memorial service of a wonderful friend. Her name was Lucy, and she passed away last week due to cancer. Like so many horrible cancer stories that I’ve heard, Lucy felt perfectly healthy until just a couple weeks ago when she went to the doctor with a minor complaint and learned she had cancer. She tried treatments, but it quickly became apparent that the best the doctors could do for her was make her last days comfortable. Which, I’m happy to report, her family and friends did. She held “court” every day while dozens of visitors came by to see her, bringing flowers, cookies, meals, and every assortment of well wishes you can imagine.

When I first moved back to my hometown, it was just before my son was born. I was a young, single mom, and I spent a lot of those first few months at the drugstore buying… you guessed it… diapers. Lucy worked the checkout counter at the drug store, and, unlike most of the clerks you’d find, Lucy LOVED her job. Seriously loved it. I never saw her without a smile and the amount of energy she had surpassed even that little pink bunny guy. She always stopped to chat with every customer and, even more amazing, knew everyone’s name. She quickly got to know me and my son, mostly because he had such a great set of lungs on him. More than once I came in there looking I’m sure like I’d gotten about two hours of sleep and wearing a rainbow of baby spit up on my clothes, toting along an infant screaming at the top of his lungs. Lucy always stopped to help me. Always. No matter if the line was out the door. Often times she’d have great advice for colic, diaper rash, anything that I could come at her with.

Later, when my little guy was a toddler, she would have little toys or treats to give him when we came in. The drug store became known as “the Lucy store” in our household.

As time went on, we needed fewer and fewer diapers, and our daily visits to the drug store became more like monthly ones. Still, Lucy always asked after my son by name, and I came to realize we weren’t the only ones. She knew the names of every child that came in that store. She knew their brothers, sisters, their pets, their favorite flavors of ice cream. What I wouldn’t have given for a memory like Lucy’s!

Lucy was one of the most exuberant people I’ve ever met. I’d often see her riding her bike to work – a super cool vintage beach comber – her long, dark hair flowing behind her, waving to everyone she knew along the way. She was always laughing, always joking, and more full of life than anyone I’ve ever met. She never thought of herself as “just a clerk” at a drug store, but as the ray of sunshine in every person’s day that crossed her path. And we all thought of her that way, too.

Her family has requested that her memorial service be a celebration of her life instead of a mourning of her passing. They are expecting hundreds of people, which doesn’t surprise me in the least, and have requested that everyone in attendance wear red, Lucy’s favorite color. So, tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be putting on my shiniest red heels, sparkliest red earrings, and biggest smile as I go pay tribute to my friend, Lucy.

~Trigger Happy Halliday


Lucy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend. She sounds like a wonderful person.

And, while you may not have her memory for details, you do have your memories of her - and that's a good thing.

Terri Osburn said...

I often wonder why people of Lucy's caliber are taken too soon when we obviously need more of them on this planet.

So sorry for the loss, but it sounds like the real loss would have been if you'd never met her. I'm sure it's safe to say your little one has one more angel watching over him.

Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks, ladies! She was a wonderful person, and, while I'm sad she's gone, I know her spirit and attitude toward life are still *here* with us. :)


catslady said...

What a touching story and we all need to be more like Lucy!! To be honest I've never known anyone to go that quickly - I'm quite shocked.

Christie Craig said... got me crying, Gemma.

It's so hard to lose people who have touched our lives. I'll be thinking about you and Lucy's family.


Gemma Halliday said...

To be honest I've never known anyone to go that quickly - I'm quite shocked.

The same thing happened to my grandmother, who passed from cancer a few years ago. From the time she first felt any symptoms to the time she passed was exactly two weeks. Since then, I’ve heard quite a few other stories that are similar. It is really shocking for friends and family, but at least the patients don’t spend much time feeling sick before they go. I'm thankful for that!


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. She sounds like she was a wonderful person. My sympathies.

Estella said...

Your friend Lucy,sounds like a wonderful person.
Red---what a fitting tribute.

Refhater said...

May Lucy rest in peace! God must have needed another angel in Heaven.

We had a similar thing happen with my foster brother Tom a couple months ago. One day he complained of a headache and a week later he passed away from a brain tumor.

I'll wear something red tomorrow in honor Lucy and Tom.