It had been two years. The news had just reached me, these many days later. In fact, the number of days was four-hundred-five since my friend’s daughter had passed away. Receiving this news was difficult. It can only be described as something akin to having one of those huge, yellow dump trucks, like the giant ones used at Kennecott Copper, suddenly park on my chest. Upon that truck’s arrival, all of my inner tranquility was immediately crushed.
One quote, from photographic genius Margaret Bourke-White began playing as if looped directly into my ears. “The very secret of life for me, I believed, was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquility.” Then, as if an internal playlist had completely taken over my thoughts, another voice of advice, one from my teenage years joined the chorus. “Do not be blind to the sight of one who needs you.”
I didn’t know how my friend Debra Beresini would feel about receiving a call from someone who had been blind to her painful circumstance for so long. So, I took a deep breath before I touched her number on my phone, hoping she would still need me, even though late.
My call went to voice mail. I left a conciliatory message. “Hi Debra, I just heard that your daughter passed away a couple of years ago. I’m so embarrassed I didn’t know before now. Will you please call me so we can catchup?” When no call came back to me within the following couple of hours I called again. Not because I wanted to be a bother, but to show I was genuine in my desire to speak with her.
Ding! “I’ll call you back,” Debra’s text read, flashing across my screen.
When we began conversing on the phone a few minutes later, the huge, yellow-copper-mine-dump-truck started its slow ramble off my chest and out of my heart. Debra had remembered the exact time of our last conversation: 2018! Then, she kindly described what she had been going through since.
“I hadn’t been ready to reach out to anyone because of the pain I was still feeling,” she explained.
“No one should have to feel the pain of outliving one of their children,” I responded. “It’s against the natural order of things.”
“Yes, it is!” Debra rejoined, quick as a lightning strike.
We spoke for about a half hour before she began to transition our conversation toward its end.
“Thank you for calling. It feels so good to have someone I thought I had a strong friendship with come to me when I needed them.”
“The very secret of life,” I said to myself, “a photographic finish.” Knowing that not being blind to the sight of someone who needs me, was just confirmed to be the best advice I’ve ever received. Because, in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquility immediately distilled my heart.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.