I just received the saddest letter from a friend’s daughter; my friend had died. What overwhelming grief I felt. My friend was very special to me in so many ways. We were a mutual support system – in good times and bad. When needed, she provided sustenance, both literally and figuratively, from delicious split pea soup to moral support. And I did similarly.
We met at the Washington University pool where we both swam almost daily. But Sunday was special. Late Sunday afternoon we would swim side-by-side, me on my back, she on her stomach – and talk from one end of the pool to the other. Perhaps this was a swim as good for our psyches as for our somas. The life guards certainly enjoyed these two rather distinctive women.
When I was up for promotion, I faced a department chairman who openly expressed his belief that women belonged at home. Thus he alone, of all the voting members of the Promotion Committee, did not support my application for tenure. A spontaneous committee from the law and other schools within the university formed – and low and behold – they, unbeknownst to me, presented my “case” to the University President. What a surprise when I was called in to the President’s office and officially granted my promotion with tenure!
Later that day I headed to the pool, and after a swim in which I perchance encountered my friend Pat (and another friend as well), we all rejoiced – where else but in the shower room, dancing round and round, to the utter amazement of those around us.
So, the passing of my friend provokes a deep sadness within me. Yet, I am able to smile when I thin of the very special times we shared , and hope that somehow, somewhere, she too is smiling . . . and maybe even taking a dip or two.