It's July 26th and today I'm remembering the death of a dear friend. Mary and I first met when we were both struggling with the pros and cons of continuing with a Bachelor of Education degree. We had a lot in common. We were both older, committed to raising our kids, and we were both working part time as mail sorting clerks at the good old Canada Post office. In fact, that's where we met - at a job with the kind of hours (6 am until 10 am) that I thought would propel me forward to become the writer I always wanted to be. I liked working at the letter carrier depot which was right in my neighborhood with the good natured bunch of letter carriers. Trouble was, I needed a full time job (that's a whole other story) - so my writing dreams would have to wait. And so even though I was working on my education degree - so I could have a 'real' job - I had such misgivings about the whole thing.
Mary did, too. We talked a lot about our studies, our families and about ourselves. And we struggled together to get our darn education degree. We did quite well at the academics and we supported each other all the way. Mary's humor was contagious. She went on to do years of soul sucking work as a substitute teacher. What a mixed bag of fun that was. Eventually she came back to the good old post office and joined me on the streets as a letter carrier - a job that I personally continue to simply love doing.
But Mary faded. She lost weight (which is supposed to be a good thing, right?). And she got more and more tired. Still she smiled - even as she faded - always she smiled. And then the pneumonia one cold January turned into a February diagnosis of multiple mylenoma and a sudden July funeral.
She was a true friend and I miss her. Today I'll take a walk in the fields - where I can see lots of sky and feel the warm wind. And when I see a butterfly, I'll think of Mary.