The Passing of A Lady

I wrote this story the night a special friend died.  She and I were late in life friends yet we shared a sort of sisterhood.  I miss her.

One of the greatest compliments about a woman is that she is a lady.  Almost an unheard of word in this modern society, the description compares to gold. One of the grand ladies in my life died yesterday.  She was 81 years old, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister, and friend to many. With all of these roles, she embraced beauty inside and outside.

walking_into_lightI met Dee when I was dating my second husband, Jack. She had been very kind to him after his wife, Carol, had died. Dee’s husband, Joe, had served with Jack in the Navy and while they attended Navy reunions over the years they were brought back together. After being introduced to Dee, and after a glass of wine and some stares, comments and a few raised eyebrows, she sidled up to me and said, “Boy, did Jack hit the jackpot meeting you!” So, needless to say, I was thrilled with her introduction into my life.

As the years passed, we only saw each other once a year, but kept in touch through emails and phone calls. Even after her first diagnosis of cancer, she retained her beauty, complete with a wig that looked as real as she was. Nothing got in her way of always looking her best, even when her hair fell out because of chemo treatments.

We became instant friends and I think almost sisters in a lot of ways.  We had a similar zest for life, loved our kids and our dogs and loved to shop!  Fashion was a really big thing in Dee’s life. I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to wear each evening of our get togethers. Elegant was a good word to use when she waltzed into a room. Eyes turned in her direction with her glowing husband holding her arm. Reminded me of a king with his queen!

She never hid her feelings, tears openly gripping her eyelids during poignant moments of nostalgia. She always spoke her mind and remained devoted to those she believed in. Dee could easily have been our first female president! But that was not to be.

Though we never saw her home, I always imagined it to be elegant, perhaps all white with sparkly accents. I imagined her home at Christmastime or a special dinner being served in their dining room. I like that image of Dee fussing over her guests, laughing at their jokes and making a really great Italian meat sauce and spaghetti!

I do believe that Joe was the love of her life. Her eyes were always bright when she looked at him.  They made a perfect couple with his methodical attitude and her lilting laughter! Parties were always fun as they made their way through a crowd of old Navy people. She made us all feel special!

I will miss Dee. I am thankful for her presence in my life and the sharing we did about many things. Heaven received a beautiful person yesterday and I know she was dressed elegantly in Heavenly garb . . . after all, she was a Lady!

We love you, dearest Dee . . .

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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