The last post I wrote was about a woman named Mary but I think the reason I was so upset was because of another friend that I lost a long time ago…her name was Mary too. Mary Armstrong was my friend when I was sixteen and she was also going through chemo when I was. We were both sent to cancer camp and went to church together every Wednesday night for the teen group meetings. We spent a lot of time together because we lived just a few miles from each other. Mary had non-hodgekins lymphoma (I don’t think I spelled that right)and had to have hip replacements in both of her hips, she had to wear leg braces all the time so she had a very difficult time walking, and with me being on crutches we walked at about the same speed. I spent a lot of hours in Mary’s room with her watching movies on her new entertainment system. We both were asked to speak to the Make A Wish people, and were both approved to have whatever we wanted. My friend Jon had just gotten a wish also and Jon chose to have a new computer and video recorder. I chose to take my whole family to Hawaii for ten days. Five days on Maui and five days on the big island. Mary chose a shopping spree, which included new furniture for her room and new clothes and make-up from Mary Kay. I remember that when Jon died Mary was there for me and we started to hang out more often. Mary and I were both wearing a size zero at the time so all of her new clothes fit us both. She thought it was fun to dress me up and put make-up on me. She loved to watch the movie The Princess Bride over and over until I hated that movie. I begged her to watch something else but she loved that stupid movie. Mary was getting so sick that she had to lay in bed all the time so I finally gave up and watched that dumb movie with her. I couldn’t let her sit in her room all alone all the time. What I remember most about Mary was that when she knew that she was going to die her family and friends wouldn’t talk to her about it. I went over to her house one day after talking to her on the phone and she was crying because she felt so alone. I grabbed my mother’s car keys and went straight to her house. I walked right in past her parents, who I was furious at for refusing to talk to her, and I picked up a notebook and pen and sat down next to her on her bed. I said “I know that you are going to die and you don’t have much time left so we need to talk about a few things”. I asked her what she wanted done with all of her things that she loved and she started crying. I wasn’t sure for a minute if I was saying something wrong or if I had hurt her feelings by being so direct, but she assured me that she was crying because she was happy that someone finally was talking to her about dying, so at sixteen years old I helped my friend make out a will. It took us a few hours to go over everything she wanted but after we were done she was very happy and relieved that she could say whatever she wanted to say to me and I didn’t get upset at her for it. A few days later I was out with Rick and Diane and Chuck(Diane’s boyfriend) and I had to stop by my parents house to get a jacket, Mary’s jacket that she loaned me, and I called my mother to tell her that I was coming to pick it up. When we pulled up to the house my mother was standing outside without the jacket and I knew something was wrong by the look on her face. Diane must have seen it too because Diane looked at me and just said “Mary”. I asked my mother if Mary was gone and she just nodded her head. My heart sank. I was expecting the news but that didn’t make it any easier. I had just gone through losing Jon and now Mary’s family was planning her funeral. She never made it to her seventeenth birthday.
I think that when the other Mary died a few days ago it brought back some very upsetting memories of all of the friends that I’ve had to say goodbye to. It always seems to be the nicest people who have to deal with the worst health problems. I know that by now I shouldn’t still be so upset about someone who died such a long time ago. I wonder if I’m the only one who still thinks about them after so many years have gone by. I’m sure that my own cancer has something to do with it. Seeing so many of my friends die from cancer definitely doesn’t make it any easier to look on the bright side. I think I’m going to take some advice that I received from a friend of mine a few days ago and find something to do to take my mind off of all the bad things that are happening. I do have some things that I’ve been putting off. I’m sure that Rick will be happy to see me doing things around the house again. My plants look like hell.