Category : Blogs
Sub Category : Relationships
It was early in the morning exactly a year ago, and I was in deep slumber after having another late night of writing when my sleep was disturbed by the sound of my phone. Groggy and still half-asleep, I groped around on my bed in search for the phone which I found buried under my blanket. The sound of Babyface singing "We've Got Love" (which is my ringtone) sounded extremely loud to my ears that morning, as if he (Babyface) was really trying hard to get my attention. I pulled the phone from under the blanket, checked the time and caller ID, and I was surprised to see Doris's name on my screen. It was barely seven o'clock in the morning, why on earth was she calling me this early? I slid the green call button, shutting off Babyface in mid-chorus, and with closed eyes I answered the call, expecting to hear her voice on the other end. But it wasn't her voice that I heard, it was her husband's.
"Zee," he said, "I have some sad news. Doris is gone. She passed away this morning." Next thing I heard was his sobbing.
For a moment, I was stunned. Doris? Gone? How? When? Where? Why? I could have sworn those were questions that were screaming in my head, but apparently, in my state of shock I had blurted out those questions to him.
He began telling me how she had been sick and was admitted in the hospital; something that wasn't unusual to those who knew and were close to Doris. She was once as strong as an ox but her health took a dive some fifteen years ago. What started with kidney ailment soon brought on a whole lot of other complications, to the point where the hospital was more or less her second home.
Two years ago she invited me and another mutual friend to her house for lunch. She told us she wanted to cook for us and asked us what we'd like to eat. She had spent the entire morning cooking and the three of us had a good lunch and a good catch up. When we arrived at her house, I must admit I was shocked by the sight I saw. Doris looked really pale and sickly. Her once thick, long hair looked scraggly and thin. Her once strong and tall posture looked very frail. She looked haggard and much, much older than her age. But underneath that deteriorating shell still lived the Doris that I knew and loved. She still had that same mischievous smile, the same sarcasm, and the same strong spirit. The three of us swapped stories and she filled us in on all the treatments she was undergoing. She was very calm and appeared to have accepted her fate. Somewhere during our conversation, I remember her looking at me and with a calm voice said, "I'm not gonna live very long more, Zee." I looked her in the eye and where we would have bantered with each other with a string of profanity, somehow that didn't happen that day. There was something in the way that she looked at me that day, something in her eyes that told me she was saying goodbye. I felt a lump in my throat but I refused to acknowledge the possibility. Instead, I tried my best to encourage her to stay strong and to keep fighting.
"She gave up, Zee," her husband said between sobs. "She just stopped fighting. I lost my wife and my best friend."
When he said that and burst out crying, I began to get angry. I wanted to lash at him. He was the main cause of all her emotional stress and worry. She told me years ago that most of her health problems were due to stress. His womanizing ways was her main stress. I knew all about his cheating ways. I knew that she had caught him red-handed seven times with different women. I knew about the beatings she used to get from him each time she confronted him about the women he was fooling around with. I knew it all because I was the one she would turn to each time he fucked up. Then that morning to hear him say, "I lost my wife and my best friend".... I almost lost it. Almost. But I bit my tongue. There was no point. Doris was already gone.
Doris and I were inseparable when we were students at the Film Academy. We had a bond that was solid and our friendship was often judged and at the same time, envied by others. That friendship continued to blossom long after we graduated and went our separate ways.
"Doris aka Dragon Lady, I have so many good memories with you. You have always had my back even when everybody else tried to turn you against me. You were a true friend right to the end. You are loved, you are cherished, and you are deeply missed. Sleep well now, my friend, you've fought a long battle. You can rest in peace now. Always and forever, you will remain in my heart." 💜