47 years ago after my graduation from college, I moved in with Marilyn. We had only met once before the day I moved in. I was a first year teacher with a first job in a strange town where I knew no one. One of my student’s parents had a friend who owned an apartment building and one of the tenants (Marilyn) was losing a roommate and needed a new one. Thus began a 47 year long friendship.
We joined a group called the Coffee Breakers. This was a group of young single adults between the ages of 20 and 35. It was sponsored by the YMCA. We would have meetings but it was mainly a social group. We went on canoe trips to northern Michigan, ski trips to Canada and northern Michigan, and mystery trips to nightclubs, hockey games etc. We also would meet at someone’s house for an evening of dancing—usually the cha cha! It was through this group that I met many other friends and yes, my husband. Lots of marriages came out of that group.
Marilyn and I lived together for about 2 years until I got married and obviously moved out. She was my maid of honor. Soon after our marriage we moved from Michigan to Ohio. When she was married 3 years later, to Bob who she met in Coffee Breakers also, I was her matron of honor. She and Bob became our daughter’s godparents. They soon had their own children and even though we tried to keep up with each other, our lives tended to go in different directions and we drifted apart. 5 years ago, our kids and our best friends threw us with a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party. Attending the party were Marilyn and Bob plus several of the old Coffee Breakers who had been our friends or had been in our wedding. We discovered that Coffee Breakers was again meeting once a month at some restaurant in the “downriver” area of SE Michigan. Anywhere from 8 to 20 people would get together. We decided that we could make the 3 hour round trip once a month to get re-acquainted with old friends. And so we did. It was kind of like we had never been apart. We would drive up, spend the day with Bob and Marilyn, go out to eat with the whole gang, then drive home.
Last summer, Jennifer, Bob and Marilyn’s daughter, pulled me aside and told me that they were having a surprise 40th for them. In the meantime, we were invited to go up to Bob and Marilyn’s cottage near Boyne Mountain, Michigan the week before the surprise party. We were really looking forward to spending that time together. But, about 3 days before we were to go, Bob called and said Marilyn had fallen and broken her shoulder. So no trip. Everyone was kind of worried that the anniversary party would be a no go too so they went ahead and told them about it to see if she was up to going to the party. She was---thankfully. We had a great time at the party. Her sister and brother and his wife were the big surprise as they drove in from Illinois to spend the day. We all laughed and reminisced and looked at wedding pictures and had a fantastic time. We went back to their house afterward and enjoyed more time together. As we were leaving, we made plans to go to a dinner theatre sometime in the fall. Little did we know when we left that this would be the last time we would see her.
4 days later Bob called me from the hospital to tell me Marilyn was in surgery for a perforated colon. Chuck had this same surgery several years ago and even though it was very scary with a fairly long recovery, he came through with flying colors. We figured she would too. Unfortunately, she developed an infection which moved rapidly through her body and a week later she passed away.
Obviously, we are all still trying to come to grips with her passing. Bob lost his wife of 40 years. Jennifer and Paul lost their mom way too early.Johanna and Jana lost their beloved Nana. And I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends. We can never take anything for granted. Call a friend today and tell them how much they mean to you.