Archive for the 'Friends' Category

Roses and Tigers on Valentine’s Day: Do we get messages from loved ones who have passed?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Today I met my friend, Patti, for lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  Back in October of 2005, I wrote about Patti when her boyfriend, Roger, died unexpectedly.

At lunch awhile ago, Patti and I chatted about various things.  Then Patti told me about the last Valentine’s Day she’d had with Roger.  That would have been Valentine’s Day of 2005.  He had taken her to a florist shop where he let her select a flower bouquet.  He wanted her to have exactly the flowers she preferred.  She selected a dozen roses.  Later, he gave her a tender card and signed it, “Your Tiger.”  “Tiger” was Patti’s nickname for Roger.  He was a masculine man with a strong jaw.  As a matter of fact, he felt his jaw was so prominent that he wore a beard to soften the look. 

It has been a year and a half now since Roger died, and this past Valentine’s Day Patti was feeling quite down.  She couldn’t get thoughts of her last Valentine’s Day with Roger out of her mind.  She remembered the roses her “Tiger” had given her, and she kept looking at the card that was signed, “I love you.   Your Tiger.” 

She wondered if people who’ve died are still aware of what’s going on with the ones they left behind.  She wanted to know if Roger still thought of her like she still thought of him.  She prayed to God to give her a sign – and a very definite sign – something so obvious she couldn’t miss it or dismiss it as a coincidence.  Some sign – any sign – to let her know that Roger had not just stopped existing.

Of course she kept her prayer to herself.  It was a prayer she had prayed often since Roger’s death.  It is a very common prayer of people who are dealing with the death of a loved one.  Death is such a mystery.

Valentine’s Day 2007 came and Patti was feeling especially blue.  There would be no roses this year – and no tender card.  That evening she went to a dance with other singles.  She’s been a part of several dance groups for years.  It was something she and Roger did together when he was alive.  This particular dance group was new, though, and Patti was the new girl in the group.  There was a door prize to be given out, and Patti filled out a ticket at the door as usual and promptly forgot about it. 

The dance was mostly fun – a way to get out and be with other people.  It didn’t get rid of the loneliness, but it made it more bearable for awhile – especially since it was Valentine’s Day.

During a lull in the dance, the emcee announced that it was time to award the door prize.  When he drew the winning ticket from the bowl, Patti was surprised to hear her name called out.  She went up to claim the prize – having no idea what it was.

The prize was a dozen roses.   She had roses for Valentine’s Day after all.  But that wasn’t all.  There was more to the door prize.

There was also a stuffed tiger – not a sweet babyish looking tiger, but one dressed in a leather jacket – one with a strong jaw covered with fur.

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Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Last night four of my very best friends came over to eat dinner with me. PawPaw was there along with Connie, Patti, and Dave. It was the first time PawPaw had the opportunity to meet and visit with the others. It was relaxing and enjoyable to be able to talk and laugh and gossip and tell jokes and catch up with what’s been going on in each others’ lives. Life can be difficult. Connie is on a leave of absence from her teaching job to care for her father who has cancer. She told me last night that the doctors have said her father only has a few months to live. She had to ask her brother to care for her father last night so she could be with us. Patti is struggling with life after Roger’s unexpected death a few weeks ago along with the poor health of both her mother and stepfather. Dave told us about his three trips to Mississippi to help with cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. Connie, Dave and I share the same unfortunate experience of having gone through a marriage and subsequent divorce within the past three years. We didn’t avoid talking about our troubles, but we didn’t dwell on them either. It was a light-hearted and fun evening. There’s nothing remarkable or newsworthy to report from the evening other than to thank God for good friends.

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CPR, AED, Heimlich, Grief, and then Steak for Dinner

Friday, November 4th, 2005

Yesterday afternoon, I went through a two-hour refresher course on CPR. It included how to use an AED. Until yesterday, I had NO idea what an AED was. The letters stand for automatic external defibrillator. What an incredible machine! Although my last CPR refresher course was just a few years ago, the AED has changed the process. CPR is still done the same way, but if you have an AED, it makes it much easier. The machine literally tells you how to use it. Another part of yesterday’s training was to go over the Heimlich maneuver, and that made me think of Roger who died last week from choking on a sandwich. As I did the maneuver on the mannequin yesterday, I kept thinking of Roger’s death – what an absolute fluke that he was all alone at the time – and how it has changed Patti’s life. Patti called soon after I got home, and we talked for awhile. I feel so helpless that I can’t do anything to help her except listen when her grief gets too much to bear. I grilled myself a steak for dinner — and after watching the video in the class that showed a man choking on a steak, I ate more carefully than I ever have.

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Monday, October 24th, 2005

I just got off the phone from talking to my best friend, Patti. Patti is near my age — a few years younger – in her early fifties. We got to know each other in our church’s singles group, and have been good friends for six or seven years. We’ve seen each other through ups and downs, through various moves, various relationships, and we’ve sat together and boohooed over lost loves. Last year, though, she met Roger, and they had been together since then. I remember the first time I met Roger. All he could talk about was how wonderful and beautiful Patti is. I was so happy for her because she SO deserved having a good relationship where the guy really appreciated her. He danced, too – a definite plus in the boyfriend department. They spent this past weekend together, and last night, after watching the Titans game together at Patti’s house, Roger left to go back to his house. Patti got the call from Roger’s sister today – Roger apparently got up this morning and was eating a sandwich — and died. They don’t know if he had a heart attack or if he choked on the sandwich. Either way – he’s gone. His sister found him about six hours later.

Life is short. There are no guarantees.

Later note: The official cause of death was choking. He died eating a grilled cheese sandwich. He had knocked over a chair — apparently trying to do the self-Heimlich maneuver.

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