Tuesday, April 19

On a Warm and Windy Day......

in Charleston, WV, I buried my very best old friend. Camilla Ellis died Wednesday and luckily for me, the funeral was delayed a few days, giving me time to do my wedding work and get there for the visitation on Sunday afternoon and the funeral Monday morning. Of course, we in North Carolina had a few interruptions on Saturday, in the form of 62 tornadoes, one of which plowed through the area where I work just 25 minutes after I left there on Saturday afternoon. I am grateful that my neighborhood was spared any damage.

My younger daughter and I left Raleigh on Sunday morning at 9am and reached Charleston in time to attend the visitation and prayer service. I saw people I hadn't seen in years, some I'd never met but heard about and some I had forgotten.

All day long on Thursday and Friday while I was working with Mel's flowers, I kept thinking about Cam and all the things we had done together and that I would never get to do again in quite the same way. We loved window shopping together; having almost exactly the same taste in clothing and shoes. In years past, we wore the same sizes and could interchange at will, and often did. We loved eating out together, and finding new restaurants, although Cam was certainly the best cook I'd ever known. We always enjoyed going to Chas. to visit her, knowing we would be met with a wonderful meal, served with a graciousness seldom seen in others. Being a house guest in her home meant being catered to and it was always wonderful.  

She enjoyed visiting Raleigh; especially while her daughter lived there. The shopping is better and more varied in Raleigh and she always had a list of places she wanted to go and asked about new ones I'd recommend. I took great pleasure in showing her the sights all around town. We loved going to the casino together (in Chas.) and playing the slots. We shared a love of books, and often exchanged a stack in order to double our pleasure. She had attempted art and painting, as had I in a past life (so to speak) and I encouraged her in that pursuit, as she did me. We visited museums, and talked about all the other places we'd like to be able to go to together, but knew we never would. A family member introduced us to a lovely Marriott resort in Myrtle Beach two years ago and I told Cam about our visits there and how nice it was. She wanted so badly to be able to go there with us, and we would have gladly taken her had the timing worked out and her health not begun to deteriorate.

I am sad; not for Cam, for I know she is in a better place now, but for myself. I am bereft. I have lost a wonderful companion. She was the sister of my heart and though I have many wonderful family members and friends, life will never be quite the same for me again. 

As soon as the services were done, we headed to northern Virginia for two days. My daughter telecommutes from Raleigh, but she has to make an appearance here every 2-3 weeks. I am sitting in a hotel in Vienna, while mr. kenju holds down the fort at home (and, I hope, is taking good care of my cats). Having a whole day to myself in a plush hotel with free wi-fi and coffee is next to Heaven for me. I can play on the computer, read a book on my new Cruz reader, watch TV or sleep and no one's telling me not to. Do you know how terrific that is?? I plan to take advantage of every minute. Don't you wish you were here?

16 comments:

Celia said...

Such a heartwarming momento of your friend. I am glad you got there safely and had your daughter to be with you. Those dear people leave such a hole in our lives when they go but they leave wonderful memories with us. Hope your sojourn in a cool hotel is healing.

Star said...

Enjoy your peace & quiet Judy. You deserve it.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm really pleased you were able to get to your friend Cam's funeral. She sounds like a wonderful friend and a great loss.

Enjoy the time to yourself, yes it is lovely to have freedom to do just what you want.

Tabor said...

You are fortunate to have had that relationship, but I know my writing this does not ease the pain. Take out some photos of the two of you and restore yourself with all those memories.

Looking to the Stars said...

Beautiful post! My heart goes out to you.

I thought of you when I heard about the tornados. Glad you and yours are safe :)

Grannymar said...

You hang on to those memories and enjoy your couple of days at leisure. You really deserve them.

Peggy said...

So sorry about your heart's sister. I hope you can still talk with her somehow. Happy Hotel Stay!

Nance said...

I must say, your vacation sounds delightful.

And I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Losing family is something most of us begin to experience when we lose our grandparents and aunts and uncles. Then, parents, which are a new category of huge. But, at a certain age, we all begin to lose friends. Contemporaries. That's a whole 'nother iteration of grief: Not more, but so different and strange.

Betty said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but glad you were able to make it to the funeral.

And, I'm glad your neighborhood escaped damage from those terrible tornadoes.

Nancy said...

I am so sorry about your friend,Judy.It is not much consolation but you may be able to feel better by remembering how much more wonderful your life was with Cam in it. Suppose you had never met.

I lost my dear best friend last year and I still have a empty space in my heart.

mamie said...

Your love of your friend shines through your words. I'm thinking about you.

srp said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend... have safe travels home.

Pat said...

Yes! How about I meet you for a drink and a chat? See you in the bar - I'll wear a white gardenia.

Gilly said...

I'm so sorry you have lost such a good friend and heart sister. Life can be so hard sometimes.

But that hotel sounds wonderful, and especially with no-one telling you what, or what not, to do!! I do know exactly how you feel!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I know exactly how you feel, dear Judy, about the loss of your dear dear friend Cam. Nothing can ever be the same after such a huge loss....My heart goes out to you, my dear Judy---I am in a very similar place, as you know.

Your time in the Hotel sounds Blissful! And well deserved, too, my dear. I'm so happy for you that you had this lovely time when nothing was calling you and there were no obligations to take care of....It sounds absolutely perfect!

tiff said...

yes, I wish I was there.

Next time you need a place to be 'away,' our doors are open for you. Free Wiffy and everything!

XO from us all.