Yesterday, I learned that my friend Rosemary Smith has passed away.
Recently, I've thought about sorrow. How sorrow visits you often when you are fortunate to live a long life.
Now I think first of all of Rosemary's husband, Ed. He is so devastated, I hope he has someone to lean on.
Our friend Judy is helping.
Rosemary and I met at UCLA sometime in the 1970s, when we both worked with administrative budgets.
Many years later, she was instrumental in helping me get my job in Capital Programs, where I worked with talented, wonderful people for almost 20 years, until I retired.
Our friendship grew during the early days when we were both single. We often went for lunch in Westwood Village, the community where UCLA is located.
We'd go out for dinner, we spent time in each other's homes. I met her parents. Rosemary's homes were always gorgeous, she was so good at creating a beautiful place in which to live. The last one I visited was in Lake Arrowhead, so many years ago now.
Living here, has isolated me physically from most of my friends. The distances are pretty vast, and navigating them doesn't get any easier as you age.
But there are other ways to show you care.
Rosemary's was totally unique and so loving in it's own charming way. A way I understood. A way I loved her for, a way that fulfilled her purpose. It made me smile.
This is what she did:
After Errol died, Rosemary began sending purses and bags to me. Beautiful, expensive handbags. Wonderful totebags. Some made by Vera Bradley, whose designs she intruduced me to, and I've come to love.
I so fully understood this was her way to show how much she cared. She knew how much I loved Errol, she was at our wedding, so many years ago.
So I never reminded her that I live in a place where max only two handbags are needed. I now have one for winter, it's brown with a monkey dangling on a chain. I love it.
And a black and white one for summer.
I will make a point of using them all this summer. I will think of my friend with love as I take them out and put my stuff in them.
One should perhaps not talk about handbags and totes when remembering a friend.
I'm only doing this because I know this was Rosemary's way to be kind to me, to show me that she was sad for my loss, to want to cheer me up with a lovely gift.
Which then turned into many lovely gifts.
That was Rosemary, my friend. So much kindness, so much care, so much love for well over 40 years.
Sorrow has visited me again.
As a beautiful, smart, kind, and loving friend has left this earth.