The Passing of Friends

As we get older we find that relatives and friends pass on more frequently. Some from natural causes, others from sickness, and still others by their own hand.

During my lifetime I have witnessed death first hand many times. The death of strangers can harden a person to what they witness but the death of a close friend or relative affects one differently. When it's personal its hard to get over.

Harvey Oberfeld wrote about the death of one of his colleagues recently and his writing has prompted me to write this.

I haven't been posting here very much since January and the bride remarked on that fact. She also remarked that I seemed to be more than upset at a friends death recently. She was correct of course as she always is when observing my moods. You see that friend died by their own hand and it was I who discovered her body.

A young friend had called me to say he needed me over at one of his relatives cabins as he feared something was wrong. The urgency in his voice made me react instantly. You see this young mans development and fears will not allow him to investigate anything he even remotely thinks may be tragic. Thus he called me. When I arrived at the cabin he was standing out in the street pacing back and forth. I asked him what was wrong and he told me he thought his aunt may be in he vehicle but he couldn't go check it out. I walked over to the vehicle and looked in the window but because of the tinted glass couldn't make out any real form so I tried the door. It opened and there was his aunt sitting in the drivers seat. I spoke to her and got no response. She was wearing a fur coat with a hood and I moved the hood to see if she may be asleep. Alarmed I reached for her wrist to check the pulse. My heart was beating so fast that All I could feel was my own pulse so I tried the artery in her neck. Nothing. I checked her left hand. Nothing. Panic. Then I checked for any breath and as I turned away that's when I noticed the gun. I lifted her hood to check for damage and to check her eyes and there was no visible damage so I slowly pried apart her coat between the second and third buttons and there was the damage, in the center of her chest.
It was more than two hours before I could leave the scene having to give a statement to the police and dealing with my young friend and his family. You see, he isn't the only one who couldn't deal with the death of his favourite aunt. And as it turned out with my silence afterward, neither could I.

A couple of days after reading Harvey's tribute to his colleague I received word that another friend had passed away after a battle with cancer. And although this is not the same type of death it is still sad that I will never see "Big Jim" again. A gentle giant that never had a bad word for anyone unless he was severely provoked.

There was a article in a local paper on symptoms of depression in the workplace but the paper got used to start the woodstove. I was going to use it here but had to get this out so I can move on. I will check the local paper for back issues at the end of the month and will do something on that at that time. Usually at this time of year there is a spike in suicides that can be attributed to many things but I submit that the lack of daylight hours is a big contributor.

And so I have written my piece and my friends are at peace. It's time to move on.


BC Mary said...

Gary E,

That's an incredibly difficult way to have to say good-bye to a friend.

Sincere condolences to you. The family must have been grateful for your company at that terrible time.

Gary E said...

Thanks for that Mary.
It was difficult and I was unable to understand it because of what I have seen in the past. I think I understand now and having written about it I do feel better.
We are heading into town today and I am going to try to find the article on noticing these things. Unfortunately they are not on line and I will have to do it the long way. It's a good article and I think it should have been picked up by other papers. But we'll get it on here either in part or in full.