A weird thing happened yesterday. Husband had a random thought about an old friend we have lost track of. Joan was a woman we knew when we lived in New Jersey years ago but haven't kept in contact with. He was trying to factor how old she was, knowing she was older than we were but not by much. It was just a random thought. You know how those things pop into your head and pop right out again.
Last night, husband received an email from someone we have known since those New Jersey years telling him that our old friend died the night before. She had apparently been ill, but because we didn't communicate, we didn't know.
Joan was one of my first friends when we moved to New Jersey as newlyweds. Husband had friends there, and they eventually became my friends as well, but Joan stepped in right off the bat. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about a memorable Thanksgiving—she hosted that raucous affair. She also hosted my baby shower before Number 1 was born, and she gave us our first stroller. She taught me how to make lasagna without cottage cheese and ground beef (what can I say—I was a midwestern girl).
When Joan needed someone to watch over her children while she traveled for work, it was husband and I who she called. When she had bursitis attacks and couldn't even dress herself, I was the one who would go to her house early the morning and see that she made it work in one piece. Her home was always open to us, no matter how crowded it might have been.
A series of events led to a rift in our relationship, and after we moved to Ohio, we eventually stopped communicating. Those unfortunate things that ended the friendship don't matter now—I prefer to remember Joan for her generosity.