I misplace my keys and I’m cranky. I lose my keys and I’m disgusted. I don’t get a job and I’m depressed. I lose a word war and I’m hell-bent to win the next one. When I lose someone dear to me, I’m devastated. But, when someone I care about loses someone, I’m lost.
The 24-year old, beautiful and brilliant daughter of one of my best friends died in an automobile accident over the weekend. The other driver was drunk. I read about this kind of thing all the time. I have a MADD ribbon on my car antenna and we’re always responsible enough to have a designated driver when we need one. But, what else is there to do? You can’t stop others who choose to drive drunk. And, you can’t take back what they’ve done. So, what do I do for my friend?
This was to be a long girls’ weekend with my best friends, an annual event, this year in San Diego. I was packed and ready to go when I got the call that Eddie Girl was gone. The trip was off, of course, as most of my friends went to Janna’s side. They all live fairly close together now, I’m the only one at a distance.
Named for her grandmother, Edwina, she’d been a tomboy who always preferred to be called “Eddie.” Janna took to calling her Eddie Girl in hopes Eddie would remember she was a girl! She played volleyball all through high school and had scholarship offers from college teams, but she was on her way to becoming a veterinarian and didn’t think she had time for volleyball. She was all about being best in her class and that meant time with her books.
Eddie Girl was an outdoor enthusiast — skiing, sailing, hiking, diving, rock climbing — and was usually accompanied by her faithful companion, Clyde, a Golden Retriever. She did finally developed a “girly” side but never became the fashionista her mom is (I’ve written about Janna’s shoe addiction here before), preferring a more classic look. She was into animals, history, books, gardening, and like most of her contemporaries, that stuff they call music these days. She still had her Pokemon card collection and her first Barbie. She was dating a fellow vet student and they planned to marry and open their own clinic.
I feel like I’m writing an obituary for Eddie Girl. I’m just trying to make sense of it all and writing helps. I don’t have children or grandchildren, but I remember a scene in the movie Steel Magnolias where Sally Field is in the cemetery with her women friends after her daughter’s funeral. I was so torn up over her intense reaction to losing her child. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child you gave birth to and raised, one you expected to outlive you.
I wish I knew what I could do for Janna. She’s been my buddy for years; I watched Eddie Girl grow up. Janna was so proud when she left for college. And, she’s so alone now. I can’t be there with her and can’t seem to find the right words to make her feel better. There’s no way I can ease her pain. I feel inadequate and sad.