So I got some sad news last night and I am surprised at how much it is messing with me…. Because it has been so long since I have really known this loud, brash, intelligent, opinionated, wonderful woman.
A while back, here on 365 Days of Silver I did a tribute to my dear friend Joanne Papin. Well I found out her mother died (not going to say “passed” right now–give me a minute) on Easter Sunday.
It really is for the best. She was in terrible health. She kept falling and not being able to get up and the only person that was there for her (really) was Jo. They were each other’s companions for many, many, many years. Jo worried what would happen to her if something happened to Jo first….
And something happened to Jo.
That was terrible for Shirley.
Shirley Papin was like a mother to me in my very late teens and early twenties. She was cool with the whole gay thing way back before it was cool to be cool with the whole gay thing.
I used to go to their house at least once a week to play D&D and other role-playing games including one we made up. She fed me wonderful meals like spaghetti pie and chicken liver casserole. I knew if my family wound up rejecting me for being gay (it didn’t!) that I had family and a mother in her.
Well life happened and I moved to Kansas City trying to be straight and that didn’t work and the decades passed and then I got a chance to see Jo again. And that let me see Shirley again who looked wonderful.
But I knew her time was close. And as it turned out to be, it was this last Easter Sunday.
I know I should have kept in touch with her after Jo passed (there! I said it!) but it hurt too much. And as I said in my Facebook last night, now I will have to carry that…not guilt…but regret? I don’t think we should have regrets really. So this needs to be a lesson, another lesson, for not putting things off.
I believe that they are now both together again. In those final years, all they had was each other.
I’m really shocked how much this is messing me up. I suppose it’s losing Jo all over again. There is a down side to living…you out live more and more of your friends. The upside is that I am a living testament to those wonderful people. They made me the man I am today.
I will miss you Shirley. You were a HUGE blessing in my life.
photo by pippalou from morgueFile