A CHERISHED COMPANION
It is a rather interesting how Narcissa and I became friends. It was August 1995 when I was traveling with my parents to see relatives in Columbus, Ohio. Since I had never formally met my grandmothers closest childhood friend, my family felt that this visit would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
Narcissa lived in a two-story house in Rocky River, Ohio (just outside of Cleveland). As a recent widow, she was in the process of moving to an assisted living center, and many of her belongings were packed up in boxes. Yet, you could still get a catch a glimpse of warm comfort and nostalgia among the photographs and antique collectibles that were displayed.
From the moment we were introduced, an immediate bond developed between us.
Narcissa was a bit like the beloved actress, Jessica Tandy in ways. Although Narcissa was in her eighties, she possessed a youthful and pleasant personality. She was kind, witty, and friendly. Narcissa was also attractive, tall in stature with a slim figure.
She had a sweet voice, glowing smile and glimmering eyes. You could tell right away that she enjoyed life and being around people.
When I sat down on her sofa, Narcissa began telling tales about growing up with my grandmother during the 1920?s. They enjoyed many girlhood moments together laughing and sharing secrets. Over the years, they continued to keep in contact through weekly telephone chats and letter writing. Over tea and cookies, we reminisced about their earlier days growing up. It was heartwarming to hear such intimate details about how their friendship started and continued to blossom.
Later, Narcissa and I discussed our mutual love of music, and then she led me over to see her electronic keyboard. First, she played a few tunes while I listened attentively. Then, Narcissa asked me to join her in a duet. I was nervous at the beginning, but then after a few minutes, my hands loosened up and were gliding along the keys in unison with hers. We sang and played various songs for quite awhile, and were congratulated with familial applause. Nothing was more enjoyable than that moment.
After our visit that day, we agreed to keep in contact, and excitedly exchanged our addresses. I was sad to leave Narcissas house that day, because I had made a new friend whom I wanted to get to know better. In my heart, I knew that she was someone special, and that we were destined to meet. My visit with Narcissa that day is one I shall always remember.
I also discovered that we shared many things in common such as singing, playing the organ, and writing letters.
After being acquainted with her for only a day, I knew that she would be a great person to correspond with. So, I decided to write her a letter to express how much I enjoyed our visit. I was surprised how quickly she responded. Her first letter was so delightful, and she told me that my grandmother would have been happy that we finally met. This put a smile and a few tears in my eyes. She closed her note by signing it Fondly, Narcissa. She continued this tradition by ending her letters this way.
During the next several weeks and months, we continued to exchange letters, and write about daily events and activities occurring in our lives. We discussed such topics as music, Grandmas friendship, and adjusting in her new home. Her letters were such a thrill to read, and I would rush out to the mailbox and quickly open her envelopes to see what she had written. So, began our special long-distance friendship.
Like Narcissa, I enjoyed composing and recording musical compositions.
For no special occasion, I decided to send Narcissa one of my keyboard tapes which she greatly enjoyed. I remember when she called me on Valentines Day in 1996, and her conversation was so comforting and relaxing. When we talked, the words simply flowed like pebbles in the stream. Her voice was so calm and soothing to hear. Right then and there, I just wanted to drive down to see her in person.
As the months traveled by, we continued to write more letters, and express our inner thoughts. We could just be ourselves with one another without any hesitation. It was a wonderful feeling to be appreciated and understood by a woman from a different generation.
However, suddenly, Narcissas life began to change. In October 1996,
Her health began to deteriorate. There was no recognizable warning, so it was quite a surprise to hear. She became quite weak and was in great pain. Finally, Narcissa was admitted to the hospital when the doctors diagnosed her condition as a mild heart attack. Throughout her suffering, Narcissa continued to write to me. Her words sounded hopeful as was her outlook on life. I hoped and prayed that she would recuperate and be back to her lively self again.
Two weeks later, her daughter called to say that Narcissa had passed away in her sleep at the age of eighty-seven. She said that her mother was not strong enough to withstand the pain any longer.
When I learned of Narcissas death, I was truly devastated and shocked. It seemed like she and I were just talking and then, she was gone. I could not believe that this wonderful caring woman would no longer be in touch with me. I was sad for several weeks after her death. I felt like a part of my soul had died too, and I didnt know how to move forward without her.
Everything about her was positive and uplifting. I don't think that I will ever meet someone quite like Narcissa in my lifetime. Although we became acquainted for a brief period of time, I shall always value our special friendship. Now I realize why my grandmother always cherished her presence so much.
Since Narcissas death, I still mourn her loss. I will miss her uplifting letters, and her pleasant personality. I still reminisce about the first day that we met, talking about her girlhood days with grandma. In one of her letters, Narcissa told me that my grandmother would have been happy that we became friends. In a way, it was like I was carrying out my grandmothers friendship with an old childhood friend.
Looking back now, I wish that we had met earlier, so that I could have enjoyed her friendship while growing up. Yet, I am thankful for the time that we did have to get to know one another. Like the meaning of her name, Narcissas beauty surrounds me wherever I roam. I shall take her wisdom, optimism, and sweetness with me wherever I go. She will continue to be an inspiration to me throughout my life.