Posted by: notsofancynancy | June 18, 2012

Memorial Monday~The Death of a Friend

The Death of a Friend

Harold Martin 24 Years Old

Back in the 70’s I worked at a record store. You know back in the old days when records were vinyl, 45’s, and cassette tapes were the fad.  They had just fazed out the 8 track and we all thought the cassette was the wave of the future. The store I worked at was in a strip mall and had an outside window. One night there was a guy who kept walking by and making funny faces at me. To make a long story short we dated and ended up dating and living together off and on for 8 years and no, it was not a good thing. What I did get out of the situation was his sister, who became my best friend and I was very close with his dad.

“Dad” and my BFF, Debbie kept in touch and when they both moved to Colorado I spent a couple of weeks with them here and there. “Dad” got really sick in the 90’s and from then on he had to be on oxygen full time. Because of his health he sold the house there and bought a big motor home and came back to California. We have an acre and a half of land so we offered to share it with him, and they lived in our yard until they found a place to put their motor home year round.

I got a call two months ago from his wife and she told me he was dying and not expected to live through the week. He was a grumpy old cuss, having served in the navy, and put up a good fight. It seemed like he got so much better. He recently showed me a picture a German Prisoner drew of him when he was a kid. It was a beautiful one, done in pencil and it showed him as just a young lad. I don’t remember the story of how he got it, I am not sure he told me.  He did not serve in war time and did not tell me more than that.

My BFF Debbie and “Dad” 1977

He was in hospice about an hour away from us, and his family is all out of state. I felt it was my duty to stand is as his daughter and I know he really appreciated me and my hubby being there. I had a wonderful phone conversation with him last Monday. We talked quite a bit, maybe a half hour or so. I told him I would be down on Saturday to visit and reminded him how much I loved him.

On Tuesday he called me back and told me his kidneys were shutting down and he did not think he would make it till Saturday. The sharp witted man from the day before was gone and although he made the call he was confused when I questioned him. We were going down to my grandson’s graduation on Thursday so my hubby took the day off and we went there first. He was really bad off, I did not stay long. Before I left I went up and kissed him on his cheek and rubbed his head and told him we were leaving. He came back to reality for a moment and asked me if I got to see the picture the German drew. I said I had, and how wonderful it was. I kissed him once again and told him I love him. He said “I love you too, take care.”  Little did I know those would be the last words he would ever speak to me.

We got the call this morning he died this about 2am. There will be no funeral, and no memorial service. None of his kids are here anyway. I am angry and thankful. Thankful he is no longer in pain. Thankful he is no longer struggling to breathe. Thankful he is no longer in hospice where he hated it. I am angry I will no longer have this dear friend in my life.

Update 7/2/2012 I find that I am no longer angry, only thankful. I am thankful he was my friend, I am thankful that I have my blog and by blogging about him he will never be forgotten. That is one thing he told me when we talked one day. He was afraid no one would remember him. I promised him that I for one would never forget him, and I won’t.


  1. What a touching story… He is honored with your kind words and your last visit with him. You must be filled with emotions.

    • Thank you and I am. I know I have a big cry coming and hate that I am not sure when that will be. I just spoke with his daughter and had to be strong for her. I am torn for being glad he passed and is no longer in pain and angry that she is so far away. Up and down, down and up. On the roller coaster of life.

  2. You are an “Earth Angel”…I am so sorry and yes, it is difficult to be thankful and grieve at the same time. At my age, I have buried many friends; always remember them and they will live through your memories. ajm

  3. I’m so sorry Nancy. So, so sad. I’m crying. That was so touching. Makes me think of my dad and my husband. Both are so ill. Both may not last the summer.Saying goodbye is just so hard.
    I hope you’re okay. I’m thinking of you. I hope you get time to grieve.

  4. This is a beautiful memorial. Let the anger go… It doesn’t matter.

  5. I’m ever so sorry to hear. That was a really touching tribute, thanks for sharing. Take some comfort in knowing your kindness and thoughfulness was a beautiful gift for him, I’m certain.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss Nancy. You’ve done him proud though, as us Brits would say, that was such a wonderfully touching tribute. Take care.

  7. My heart goes out to you….please don’t be angry; be glad for the moments shared you will forever cherish.

  8. Ouch…..

  9. My sympathies Nancy. That was a wonderful send off you just gave him.

  10. So sorry to hear of the death of your friend. You were certainly a kind and loving friend to him. Hang on to the nice memories. Hugs

  11. What a sad post. I felt your pain and sorrow in your words. Thank you for sharing the story and your emotions. He must have been an exceptional man, and you are an exceptional woman to be there til the end.

  12. Nancy you have no regrets about him and he loved you. I love you too!

  13. I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend! It was such a blessing that you still got to see him after the breakup with his son. Not many friendships withstand that situation!! I’ve never gotten to have one, no matter how much i wished it! It was always a matter of loyalty to the son. Be thankful that he is not in pain anymore and hopefully he is with our Father in heaven! Just remember that anger is like holding a hot coal in your hand that is only burning you while you are waiting to find someone to throw it at! It is only hurting you! God bless you dear friend!

  14. What a loving way to share your friend and relationship….to the very last….with us. You did a very good thing being one of the last he experienced in his life and it was an experience of love. I can’t think of a better send off! He was as lucky to have you as you were to have him. Thank you for sharing this.

    • OMGoodness, thank you, that cry I have been trying to avoid seems to be leaking out of my eyes.

      • A hug to you friend. Sometimes we are the only ones for people even though there should be more. Sometimes one is all that’s needed! Take comfort in that. Crying is good therapy and a good walk in nature.

  15. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I’m sure you were pure joy to him and what a gift you gave to him, giving of yourself and your time.

  16. How special and meaningful that you stepped in as family. You have a very big heart. I know you will miss this man, and I hope it brings you peace to know what an extraordinary gift you gave him of your care and concern for him. Bless you! Debra

  17. I am sorry about your loss – he must have been a special person. We also suffered a loss this week – that of my aunt. It is always hard to say good bye. He will always be with you in your heart – God bless you ~ Patty

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  21. My condolences Nancy, made me cry. So sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have had another Dad. Life really is precious indeed, (((big hugs)))

    • I feel so lucky to have been able to be one of his “daughters.”

  22. You write with such emotion, Nancy, that my eyes teared up reading about your relationship with your “Dad.” I’m sure he was comforted by your last visit. I’m so glad you got to make it! May God and time ease your grief. Your friend will live on through your tribute here.

    • one of the times we visited he was so depressed and I asked him why. He said “I just want someone to remember me.” I think I have fulfilled that wish with this post. Thank you for reading it.

  23. Thank you for sharing this touching moment of losing someone very special in your life.

    • Thank you for your kind comment. It is easy for me to write from my heart.

  24. So touching. Your words indicate or highlight that there is much more to this man than meets the eye. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

    • And thank you for commenting. He has always touched my heart and more so when his family was not here to support him on his last journey. How lucky was it that I could step in, in the role of family? Awesome!

  25. I’m so sorry. I’m glad you were there in his final days though. It is a pity about the hospice – my mum died at home, with her family, and that’s where I think most people want to be. But again – that’s a very moving post.

    • It is hard to leave a loved one in such a place. I wish I could have brought him home with me but I could not have picked him up to get him to the bathroom. It really made me sad that I couldn’t. I am glad he is no longer suffering.

  26. This is a great story. Your blog is so important in these waning days of living WWII vets. I wish I had more letters okay, any letters of my dads from the war.

    Thank you for writing!

  27. A lovely tribute. I think it is important to write our stories down and you are doing it well.

    • Thank you so much! It means a lot to get the validation I am doing it right!

  28. Thank you for sharing Harold’s life with us. In the end I think that all of us want to be remembered for the good we did in this life and not the mistakes we made along the road to gaining experience.

    This song by Tim Buckley, “Once I was…”, sums it up:

    • Thank you for sharing this wonderful song with me. It is hard to lose someone close to you. But it is wonderful to find a song that helps it make sense.

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