One of my good friend's passed away last night. We met in grad school. She had health problems her whole life. I remember when we graduated, she was so optimistic and excited to get on with her life. Get a good job, get married... just live.
A couple years after graduating, her health really went down hill. It was a series of major health issues. One step forward, two steps back. She spent the last couple years of her life in pain and the last year in hospitals.
Her dad couldn't work because she needed so much help and the hospital staff couldn't even meet her needs. He basically lived at the hospital with her for over a year. The family has struggled with watching their daughter be in pain and slowly die and the drain on them has been massive - mentally, emotionally and definitely financially.
Today has been such a roller coaster of emotions. I tried to help the family as much as I could early on. Fundraisers, bringing food to them, selling stuff on eBay for them to raise money. But this last year that she was in the hospital, I only visited a few times. I have the excuses of working full time, having kids and someone was always sick at home during this past winter. My friend's medical issues were so severe that we couldn't visit if we even had a cold. We had to suit up in protective wear at the hospital to go in her room. She contracted an infection from one of her surgeries at the hospital that they couldn't seem to get rid of and could have been contagious.
I have OCD. I try not to let it affect my life and when it does I feel like I must be so weak to give in to it. But visiting someone in a hospital is so hard for me. The whole time I'm there I'm having constant panic attacks on the inside while trying to smile and remain encouraging to my friend and her family. It's emotionally draining by the time I leave. They don't know about the OCD. Their problems have always been worse than mine. What did I have to complain to them about?
So I didn't visit as often as I should have. I usually visited just once every time she was in a new hospital. She switched hospitals every few months because doctors kept giving up on her.
Now she's gone.
This woman had such a strong belief in God that she was inspiring to many people. I was in awe of all that she went through and was still able to stay optimistic and just put her trust in God.
Her birthday is tomorrow. She wasn't even 40 years old. Her parents tell me I was one of the only friends to really stick by her. But I feel like I failed her. I should have visited more. I keep thinking of all the times that I came up with excuses not to visit. Now I won't be able to.
R.I.P. Dear Friend