You know how old you are, as long as someone was paying attention the day you came into the world, there is someone keeping track with you. And I have written plenty about the turning 50 thing. I say often I don’t feel like I am getting any older really, but things happen that remind me that not only am I getting older, but the things that mark that aging thing will happen all around me while I am trying to stay young at heart.
My high school classmates took a big hit yesterday. One of our own passed away, following a long term illness. Gidget was only 49, but she had been dealing with the effects of a brain tumor/surgery for 9 years. That’s a long time. Her husband and kids cared for her through the majority of this time. Rick, her husband, went to high school with us too, they dated in school, got married and had the family, then things changed after she had surgery to remove her tumor. I can’t speak with much knowledge about all of it, but her brain function and short term memory were drastically affected.
They were a great couple back then, and I hadn’t seen a lot of them over the years, but they fit like puzzle pieces. It was the right thing that they ended up together, and they had a ton of personality and love for friends and family between them. My heart aches for Rick right now, because they truly spent 3/4 of their lives together. And as it turns out, when they said “For better or worse, in sickness and in health” they truly meant it, because they lived it. I am sure Gidget could not have picked a better caregiver, friend and love than Rick.
I am transitioning into that part of life when you attend more funerals than weddings. You know more people that leave this earth than are bringing new babies into it. It happens without fanfare, there is no benchmark, it just becomes the way it is. Having lost my parents at a young age, you forget that your friends will start losing theirs, until the phone calls come. Your older aunts and uncles will go too, and hopefully they lived long and full lives. But yesterday, when I saw the news about Gidget on Facebook, it literally knocked the wind out of me. She was only 49. I knew of her condition, I knew she had been in hospice care, but to see it, for it to be real, it hit hard. She just lost a 9 year fight that wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair to her, her husband or her kids. The deck got stacked against all of them, and the reality came to its ultimate conclusion on Sunday. I understand they were all together at the end, which fits because they were all there the whole way through it. God bless you, Gidget, you got to leave this place surrounded by Love.
It had been many years since I had seen her, but she is not a person you would soon forget. Her personality, smile and laugh were contagious. She was a friend to anyone, she just loved being around people. We were the kind of casual friends you have in high school. We had classes together, and were in some clubs together. She was a hoot, truly. She had a huge heart, that is part of why she and Rick were a perfect fit, because he does too. I can say all of us that knew her are better people for that experience.
Keep living your life. Get through it and love fiercely. You just don’t know what will come along and knock the wind out of you. 49 years is not so long when you add up the numbers. A short life, but she made quite an impression in that short time. Even if you don’t know Gidget or Rick, I hope you will include them in your thought or prayers if you are of that nature. She has no more pain, thankfully, but the ones she loved and had to leave need some love sent to them to help them adjust to their new normal.