Some stops on my tour are unexpected. One of my Jersey girlfriends sends a 3:30am text message —
Her husband has died. “Please come when you can.” This part of the trip is most unexpected. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 6 months before. He’s 47 years old, a former athlete and a health enthusiast. His illness was a shock. His death defies understanding. They have been married for 13 years, have a sweet precocious 6 year old daughter and all of their friends know about their plans to retire to Jamaica together in the next 10-15 years. Those plans change now. And so do mine. I gather my bags and head to be with her. In Jersey, myself and others provide a ring of support around her. She is as composed as a diplomat about the whole thing. Her priority is keeping her daughter grounded and prepared to face the future that lies ahead. We follow her tune and focus on reconnecting. After the service, my friend asks/tells me in her signature sass, “Since you’re on your little sojourn, you can just stay here with us.” Seven days turns to ten and being together reminds me of a summer during college where we hung out non-stop while she “used” me to get to my male best friend. Their relationship didn’t last. Our friendship did. Despite the sad whys of being here, I’m grateful for this time with her.