Well, I lost another friend. She was only 57. It's like losing Karen all over again. An aggressive cancer that took her within a few weeks of diagnosis. I'm told she fought to the end. She held on until her sister could get there from Virginia, but slipped through the veils about a half hour later.
She was my neighbor for many years on Randolph Place in lovely downtown Noho. We hung in the same circles. She and Michael were my one great success story in matchmaking. They had celebrated their 9th anniversary last August. I wonder now if it was the right thing to do. Michael had barely recovered from losing his last great love to diabetes when I got the two of them together. Seems so unfair that he has to go through this kind of loss again. When he told me today that he had expected to grow old and live out the rest of his life with Irma, it shattered my heart.
In the years before I left Northampton, she and Michael would include me in their annual Christmas tree decorating since I stopped putting up one of my own. We laughed a lot. There was always some comical disaster involved and much hilarity. Mike tells me they didn't put up one this year. She was already too sick by Thanksgiving from being poisoned by the chemo. That didn't work anyway.
She was too sick to even go on the internet. I bought her a card two weeks ago. I didn't have time to send it. I wish I had. I know she knew I cared but, I would have liked for her to have some tangible thing to hold before the end.
Irma was a complicated person. She was a really ugly drunk. I feel a little guilty right now remembering the times I snuck out of a bar so I wouldn't have to be the one to walk her home. And how impatient I was with her when I did walk her home. She was impossible when she was too drunk. She would walk soooo slow, stopping every few feet to shout out some rude comment while she swayed on the sidewalk.
But overall, she had a golden heart and a gentle soul. And she was a good mother. Her kids and grandkids were everything to her. And she was so honest. She never lied about her lifestyle. Not even to her doctor. In fact, she never lied. About anything.
The last two things she said was that she loved them all and she was sorry she got sick. Michael tells me she wasn't in pain. The drugs kept her comfortable. And she was surrounded by her family and her last great love at the end, so there's that. I guess there's worse ways to die.
Irma was a total original and a true friend. And man, did she have good fashion sense. Even in the worst stages of her alcoholism, she took pride in dressing well and she so
rocked a hat. There was no one quite like her. I'm really going to miss her.