There are some days in your life that you will never forget. Every minute of that day will be imprinted in my brain for as long as I can remember.
The day started off at the cottage with the Warrior Ladies. We had a big day ahead of us. There was going to be a potluck dinner party for me for my graduation.
I had canceled the big party originally planned as there was much too much going on. Six of the most important people in my life wouldn’t be able to attend. It didn’t seem right to have a large party without them. Without them, something important would be missing. Their faces of pride and joy.
Them not cooming wasn’t their choice, three were sitting by a bedside in the hospital next to the other three. One was dying, one was on life support and one had major life-changing surgery and Coivd.
But fifteen of my other closest friends were coming to dinner and I needed to be happy as they had put a lot of time and energy into doing this dinner for me and I didn’t want to let them down.
The girls and I got up in the morning and got the cottage ready for the party. Then I showered and got ready to go out. Before the party, I had a wedding to do.
As I was getting ready my best friend of fifty years’ daughter called me. She had spoken to her mother who for the first time in days was a wake. The time we had dreaded but knew for five years was knocking on our door. Sissiy was in the final stages of dying.
First, she had gone into kidney failure, then it was heart failure. She struggled and kept going. So many times she would be hospitalized and we thought this is it, we are going to lose her, and somehow like a cat with nine lives she would come back. And the treatments would start again.
In the meantime, all we could do was sit back and watch. Five years of watching her never give up and watching as slowly each part of her life was taken away.
Then she had back pain. She was rushed to the hospital. Now on top of everything else she had stage four lung, spinal, and brain cancer. Life was unkind sometimes, but this was unbelievably unfair.
At this point we knew, this was it. No matter what anyone did, Sissy was really dying and it was going to happen fast. It was going to be an awful death, and again there was nothing any of us could do to help her except make sure she was comfortable.
I wiped my eyes after that phone call and headed out to do a wedding. I had a young couple who were waiting to start their lives together and as their Minister, it was my job to make sure that happened.
As I was driving my phone rang. Sissy was awake and wanted to talk to me. She talked little and I could hear the pain in her voice both physical and emotional. My person, my only person in the whole world who knew everything about me was saying goodbye to me.
I kept myself together and said all the right things to her. As her friend and a nurse, I knew this was my last chance to get it right and I had to do that. She fell asleep talking to me.
I was told by her boyfriend that it was the first time he had seen her peacefully in weeks. That gave me some peace.
When I hung up that phone, I knew it would be only hours before she would be gone. This was it, I would never have a chance to see her or speak to her again.
I pulled over and prayed that she would go easy in her sleep. I prayed for her pain to be over and I prayed for strength for the rest of us who she would be leaving behind. I also spoke to heaven where her husband who had passed before her was and asked him to take care of her.
Then I wiped my eyes and went to do a beautiful wedding for a lovely young couple who never knew what was going on and they didn’t need to know.
I was grateful for all the years of nursing which taught me how to put on a face that covered emotions.
After the wedding, I called her daughter back. We talked while I drove back to the cottage. I said to her, I am having the weirdest day. My best friend is dying and I just spoke to her for the last time. I did a wedding after that and now I am heading to a party for me, to celebrate my graduation.
Life is strange, everyone is going through something at all different times. And here’s where I made my mistake, I said nothing will ever beat this day…
And it got beat.
As the guests were arriving, one of the Warriors accidentally let the dogs out. Husband and I went flying after them. While we were running the three minutes to them, we heard Romeo yelp. We got there in time to see the neighbor kicking Romeo. Romeo has no idea what is going on. He just thought that everyone is playing.
Juliette ran to Daddy while I grabbed Romeo by my left hand and got in the middle of that man and as I did, their dog bit me on my right hand. This is the third time I had now been bitten by their dog.
I said nothing except apologies for the dogs getting loose and as we headed back to the cottage, they were following us and screaming at us like a pack of animals. These people whose dog was never on a leash were upset that ours got out.
Today I find that funny, at the time I was just shocked by their behavior.
Fifteen people witnessed this verbal attack and as one of the Warriors said, they acted like someone had gotten murdered.
Having no choice in the matter, I went back to having a dinner party.
As were barbequing, the man came over to apologize. In front of our guests, he apologized stating that “they had overreacted. No one got hurt”. We agreed. We shook hands to keep the peace, and then in the next breath, he threatens us.
Again everyone who witnessed this was shocked but we said nothing. We were not going to cause a scene with our friends all there who didn’t need this, anymore, then we did.
Our party ended respectfully at 9 PM when the party behind us started. Loud music, flashing laser lights, and a drunk woman screaming about every half hour into the middle of the night.
I’m laying in bed not able to sleep thinking, in one day, I said goodbye to my best friend who was laying in a hospital bed dying and I have gotten bitten for the third time by the same neighbor’s dog and then threatened by that neighbor.
The noise finally stopped somewhere around 4AM. During that long night, I made a decision.
What most didn’t know was that my Husband and I were scheduled to go up North in two weeks to put in an offer on a resort. We had planned to purchase a resort that had a restaurant, seventeen cottages, a bar, a store, and a marina.
That rumor we had started back in the Spring, was that it would be our last season at the Love Shack.
After what we had seen that night, I was peopled out. I was tired of the crazy neighbors, and the smell of pot being smoked day in and day out. The dogs running loose, not ours. Being bit now five times by unleashed dogs and attacked two other times.
Add in fireworks that terrified Juliette who was now afraid of the dark, only there. And she would no longer go in the backyard. Then there was a total lack of consideration for other people’s privacy and property.
Now add in acts of violence, aggression, and unkindness. I was also tired of not saying anything no matter what anyone did for seven years to keep the peace. And let’s not forget the nonstop gossip that was heard every Friday as soon as we arrived on our property.
When Husband got up, I told him, I no longer wanted to buy the resort. I could not imagine having to deal with people’s bad behavior all the time, every day for the rest of our lives.
Then I told him something else. I no longer liked it at the cottage. It had become seven years of work. I was tired and didn’t want to be there. I felt obligated to come every weekend and I didn’t want to do it anymore. And the truth was I had felt that way for two years.
Now you know why my blogging slowed down.
Then he told me the truth, he felt the same way. He had kept building the cottage and making it better because he thought I liked it there. I laughed and so did he.
In the meantime, I had already found a place I thought would be perfect for the Warriors. We would have fences. Fences make better neighbors. There was parking for our now group of twenty-two Warriors and privacy. Most of all it was turnkey, my new favorite word.
We agreed to go and look at the place and in the meantime, it was time to do what we both wanted to do, sell the Love Shack.
That morning with no sleep, we got up and started cleaning the cottage to list it.
We mowed the lawn, vacuumed the back deck, and cleaned everything up. The neighbors who had the party the night before, unfortunately for them, well they got woke up. As you can imagine they were quite hungover, but my sympathy for them ran in the same department that their consideration had run for us the night before.
As we finished cleaning the back deck, my phone rang. It was Sissy’s daughter. Sissy had died.
I felt like someone had just kicked me in my chest.
I went to the garden to work not knowing what else to do with myself, when the crazy neighbor that we had somehow got stuck with and now couldn’t get rid of said all the wrong things to me.
That was it, after a year of telling him to watch what he says, telling him that girls were afraid of him and that people didn’t want him around because of what he says, he went off into another one of his tangents.
Only this time he made the mistake of making comments that were so inappropriate that he got on the unforgivable list. And after a year of warning him to watch what he says and me biting my tongue, I let him have it.
Now I would like to tell you at this point I was finally left alone to mourn my best friend, but apparently, that was not in the cards.
The next few days turned into a totally unbelievable experience that I was going to write about but I decided some things are better left for charterers in a book. You will read this story one day in one of my books. I’ll leave it with, that I was now carrying dog pepper spray to protect myself.
Before this, we had already made up our minds to sell the cottage. That was why I had whispered it to the neighbors in the Spring. I didn’t want them to be shocked when I posted the For Sale Sign. And yes, they had kept our secret.
The Warriors who had bought up near us, knew the plan before they bought up near us.
When we found the resort we invited them to come with us to look at it as we were hoping they would also fall in love with the place and come with us.
She and I spent much time this Summer searching online for our new location and had been going to open houses to look for the new location for the Warrior’s new Happy Place.
They had also started looking for another property of their own earlier in the Spring, so we knew this would work out for everyone. They also kept our secret and we kept theirs.
But then came this crazy week and it confirmed what I had felt for two years. I didn’t like some of the people around us. I no longer wanted to be there. And we were investing time and money into a place we didn’t want to be at.
The drive there that I once loved became the dreaded drive into the hell zone.
It was time to go forward and live life to the fullest. Working every weekend, seven months a year, in a place I didn’t want to be at was just stupid.
I don’t remember much about my graduation party, only who tried to ruin it. Yes, that man.
It was a week later before I even opened my graduation gifts and to this day, I still have not had a chance to mourn my friend of fifty years.
When we both knew she was dying and there was nothing anyone could do, I said to her, Sissy, how will I know when you are near and watching over me.
She said, talk to me like you always do. I’ll hear you. I’ll still be there to listen, now you won’t have to pick up the phone.
I believe she is listening. When I question why do bad things happen? I give it time and as always, something good comes from the bad just like we always told each other it would.
There have been few tears shed since she died. The craziness had taken over my life. Getting the cottage ready and looking for the perfect location for the Warrior’s New Happy Place had filled many hours.
I will get into all of that in the next blogs.
That day, on August 27th, 2022, after the wedding I was driving back and thinking of my friend of fifty years. The song, Season and the Sun came on the radio. That song describes her and me. We were nine years old when we met. And she died on a beautiful day with the birds singing in the air.
She never saw sixty. We were supposed to celebrate this birthday together like we did all the big ones both being November babies.
This blog is dedicated to her. Cindy Lou Edwards Blair/Sissy to only me.
November 10, 1962 – August 28th, 2022.
After writing this blog, I could finally cry over losing her. Once I was able to dry my eyes, I called my friend who is a travel agent and she booked Husband and me, a trip to Europe.
Next Summer instead of busting our butts working on the cottage, we will be spending our Summer Holidays in Itay, France, and Spain.
Living life to the fullest.
I’m sure Sissy would approve and she would say, Ah something good.
She won’t be with me physically but I’m sure she will be with me in my heart.