There's something I need to do. I've put it off since Monday. Sometimes I climb into my boat and go floating down the river deNIAL. Now I need to grow up.
In the late hours of Sunday night I lost a dear friend. Erika Duffield lost her battle with cancer. She was just diagnosed a few months ago and then was treated at MD Anderson. It's difficult to beat cancer of the liver but I thought if anyone could do it, Erika would. She had faced physical problems before-always with a smile- and to my tiny brain she would beat this.
Erika was one of the strongest women I ever knew. Nothing stopped her-until Sunday night. Erika might tell you something different. She MIGHT tell you she won the battle. She was also one of the softest: she had the softest, fluffy light red hair, she wore soft clothes (usually some type of peasant skirt and blouse). She was from Munich, Germany, but she had the softest German accent I've ever heard. She said it was because she learned English the hard way. She didn't learn English in school. She learned it by coming to the States and living with people who spoke English. And she always worn a beaten-up pair of Birkenstock sandals.
Erika and I spent some time talking about Germany after I returned from a trip several years ago. I was there in the winter and loved the snow. She didn't like snow. We both spent some time in the Munich "beerhall" (get over it, my Baptist friends!). She returned to Munich often and finally sold her apartment there. I would loved to have made a trip there with her. In the spring, maybe.
Her husband is a doctor at LSU's vet school so she knew a lot about animals. She had a little dachshund (of course!) and I have my little Rose. We often spent time talking about our furry little children.
And she did something I could never do: she took very good care of her mother-in-law. The lady lived with Erika and her husband and she was forever taking her somewhere, doing things with her. I can't help but think again of how strong-and loving-she was.
Her funeral will be on Saturday. I won't go. I will say good bye to Erika in my own way, privately. I think I have already begun the process. Last night she was on my mind-never far from my thoughts. And I want it to stay that way for awhile. She made my life better. I don't think I ever got to tell her that. But I think she knows that now.
Rest, Erika. I'll see you again. And we'll have some catching up to do!