Throughout this summer I was losing a friend to cancer. She and I were neighbors, spiritual sisters, cancer survivors, and hiking buddies. Her illnesses slowed her hiking over the last couple years, but she never stopped hiking and walking until she could no longer breathe from her lung metastasis. It is hard to not see her leave her house for her walk with her husband.
Where is your memory place where you received good or bad news? We were at Fox Run Park, hopefully making new older hiking friends when my cell phone rang. When I answered it, it was my friend Joey. “I am going on hospice. My body cannot take it anymore. Will you hold a memorial service for me?” With those words, the world shifted. She would be gone soon.
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:24-26 NIV
Catholic Prayer: Eternal Rest grant unto them, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace, Amen.
My husband and I went ahead on the hike that had just started. That was a terrible decision. I did not deal with the news about Joey. I was disengaged and even bossy with people. The new potential friends were glad to see us leave.
She was moved to a local hospice in a hospital that night. My husband and I were able to see her in the midst of Covid and pray with her. Her faith in God was strong and her mind was clear enough to allow us to grieve and say goodbye to each other.
My family left for a planned trip to Durango, Colorado with my parents a couple days later, knowing we would probably not see Joey on this earth again. Her loving family surrounded her.
After a Saturday in Telluride, Lizard Rock, picnic, hiking at altitude and a long drive, we stopped for supper in Durango.
Ding. The message came from her husband. Joey had passed away thirty minutes before. Once again, the hiking we had completed was a reminder of what she and I could no longer do ever again. We toasted her and her amazing spirit of life.
Her smile and kind loving spirit is missed so often. When I walk the neighborhood park, when I hike the Open Space, when I see pictures of Palmer Park, Seven Bridges and all the places we hiked together, I remember Joey. She was my hiking friend and I lost her in 2020, not to Covid, but to cancer. Walk on my dear friend.
Where are your hiking memory places? Who do you miss from your hiking? Do you cherish the times you have together or always think you will have more? Who do you miss walking or hiking with today?