I’m Losing a Friend

Last updated: January 2022

(Not my usual positive can-do article. Angry and sad instead).

How I became close with my friend

We’ve been friends for 52 years! Fran (age 87) and her husband (deceased) were my English professors and our friendship grew out of a deep love of reading.

As a freshman, she turned me onto Agatha Christie. I spent a year collecting all of Christie’s books (used and in paperback; broke college student) and boxed and wrapped it up for their Christmas one year.

We stayed friends through various moves. I was her daughter’s Godmother. We shared new authors and had long, wonderful conversations. We laughed a lot, cried some, agreed to disagree on some topics.

Fran was one of the smartest people I’ve known.

Miscommunication between friends

But over the last few years, she has changed. We started to have the same conversations over and over.

She had no memory of this and would get angry if I mentioned it. She gets angry over just about anything now.

It took me a while to realize she has been showing all the signs of early dementia. I suspect that she is aware of what is happening but for the most part, remains in denial. She doesn’t call me anymore; she honestly has no memory of not calling.

She lives alone (fellow introvert) with no support there or anywhere that I’m aware of.

RA is complicating support-giving

I’m so worried about her but, because of my RA/spinal issues/ etc. I cannot travel halfway across the country to be there with her, evaluate the situation, and get her the help she will need going forward.

And quite frankly it’s tearing me up.

Coping with my array of illnesses is one thing, but not being able to be there for someone who desperately needs the support is unacceptable. Not fair. Pi__es me off.

Managing emotions with RA

This is the first time I’ve felt totally defeated by my limitations. Until now I’ve always found a workaround. And to have to stand by and know she is dealing with her greatest fear alone is devastating.

This is an aspect of RA I never saw coming.

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