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THEY DON'T TELL YOU THIS
18 November 2015
The problem with growing up and especially getting older is something we don't think about until it happens to us. We either die early, or we watch all of our friends dying, one by one. Both situations suck!
Before my computer died (even computers get old!) I had started keeping a list of all of our friends who died and which year we lost them. One year we lost 13 friends, friends of ours, not friends of our parents. But it's too depressing to try to compile that list again.
This week we lost Mitch Agruss, grand old man of Sacramento theater, recently given a lifetime achievement award. We knew Mitch first when we first moved here and the kids watched his "Captain Mitch" cartoon show every day. It was not until he was about to do a show a few years back and I went to interview him (my photo at left) that I learned what an amazing man he was. His apartment was like a museum of show business, and he had tales of doing summer stock with the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Moss Hart among others.
Following that interview, we became casual friends. We had friends in common and we occasionally had lunch with them. We drove him and my colleague to a lot of shows in Sacramento. I loved watching him "holding court" in the lobby as everyone in the theater, it seemed, wanted to come and say hello to him.
But it became obvious that he was not going to live much longer and after a brief hospitalization, he died of a stroke in the ambulance, headed back to his apartment.
At the same time, we recently went to the 95th birthday party of our friend of >40 years, Arthur Sullivan, who is probably not going to live much longer, according to his long-time partner, a physician.
Arthur has been a friend ever since he joined The Lamplighters a bazillion years ago. World's sweetest man and though we didn't see him often, I am saddened to know that he is on his way out.
Today we had news of the hospitalization of another friend of >40 years. I don't know the degree of seriousness, but he had to be transported to Sacramento because they did not have the resources to care for him at the hospital here in town. I know he has not been well for a long time and I just pray that we hear good news about him.
And then I called Peach this afternoon. I had not spoken with her since before I went on the cruise. She had difficulty speaking, slurring her words, and pretty much not making much sense. She gave the phone to her daughter, who says they are kind of in a holding pattern, knowing that the end is near and just trying to bring a smile to her face as often as they can. They have met with the priest and have made preliminary arrangements for her funeral, which makes me cry whenever I mention it. She has been more of a sister to me than my own sister ever was, and especially following Karen's death. A big part of me wants to fly to Iowa, but I know they have more than they can handle right now--and it's about ready to snow (I was there last year at this time), so I'm better off staying at home, but my heart aches for her, and perhaps more for myself, knowing that she is on her way out.
With her death, the death of our cousin Kathy in 2011, and the death of our cousin Shirley a few years before that, it will leave me as the oldest survivor of our generation and that is a sobering thought.
You reach a certain age and you don't make new friends any more and just watch the ones you have fade away, if you don't do it first. But it gets more and more lonely as there are fewer and fewer people to whom you can turn when you lose another friend. My mother is still here, but losses don't faze her any more and she responds by saying "well...life goes on..." which isn't the kind of shared emotion that I need and is, in its own way, another daily manifestation of another loss, whether she is still alive or not.
I'm just in a real funk today, needing a big "there-there."
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This is entry #5706