A CHRISTMAS FRIENDSHIP REFLECTION
I can still hear her say ‘agapi mou’ (my dear).
Christmas was her favourite time of the year.
As she struggled to roll her cigarette, I watched
her hands shake, knowing that it would take a
miracle to bring my friend back and see the
Christmas lights for one last time.
Then I’d take the paper and tobacco and in a clumsy
attempt, roll what could only resemble a poor
version of a smoke, probably one of her last...
I hated cigarettes and she knew it but we laughed
together on the steps outside the hospice, unspoken
words but our eyes said it all, time is drawing near.
Then our conversation interrupted by a nurse,
“Time for your meds!” It was then the finality of it
all went rushing through my brain, she’s near her end.
Still she kept smiling, knowing Christmas was around
the corner. She was already collecting new decorations
for her tree. Wonderful the human spirit!
Each day I visited her at the hospice we didn’t
Bring the topic up, afraid that if we said it
aloud it would change things. It would take away the
hope of a miracle.
She had had a hard life for sure and although I was
thankful that she had no more pain due to the
palliative care meds, we both smiled and joked
through it all. I admired her inner strength and
gratitude for what she was able to appreciate
even in this unknowingness, she still smiled...
Both our birthdays came and went, now we were
hoping the next big celebration would be spent
together remembering when I used to visit her at
the hospice, and my feeble attempt at rolling her
a cigarette! Her laughter and sense of humour
was a pure tonic.
I kept pushing the thoughts from my mind, yes my
dear friend, that day is drawing near but you
won’t be here to laugh and reminisce with me. How
lonely life will be without your wonderful smiley
face, your words of encouragement when things got
Another thought rushed through my mind...her cats!
I wonder if she’ll get to see all her beloved cats
again when she takes her final breath? Would
‘Garfield’ be sitting there waiting with his cheeky
look for her? I sincerely hoped he would.
Christmas is almost upon us but my friend has gone
to higher places. The memories are still everywhere
I glance. At the bus stop where she used to catch
the bus back to the city. At McDonalds benches
outside where we used to sit; that awful banana milk
shake we decided to try, both laughing at our choice
All the so called normal places; supermarkets, car
parks, swimming pool, beaches, all hold mixed
memories now. She is still very much alive even
though she has been taken from this earth. I can
still see her big smile and her open arms “My
friend, I’m so glad to see you, agapi mou!”
My Christmas wish to you my friend is that you
have finally found your peace. I am grateful
for having you to share my journey. My vision is
of you surrounded by all your cats again. As we
turn on the Christmas lights, I smile and say,
“Happy Christmas, agapi mou”.