My magical friend Mickie died last week. Not very magical any more ? lots of ailments, body, mind and spirit. Lots of medications. Lots of questions and querulousness. And basically seeing her entire life as one long assault against her body, mind and spirit.
She who had been one of the liveliest, most positive people I knew ? and whose life worked out that way for a long time ? died, without real warning, on a downhill treadmill she had been on for a long, long time.
She actually started out the only girl and youngest child in a blue collar Jewish family in Bond Hill ? living, actually in the basically Catholic part of Bond Hill, rather than in the more Jewish neighborhood east of Reading Road. Her father held the official title of Elder Philosopher in the Bond Hill Community Council in the early 70s, the oracle who had the last word on all issues.
Brilliance glittered all around the family, but the mother bounced between logic and emotion and self-pity. Mickie was told she had not been wanted, was always a sensitive and psychic and aware person, with no one telling her how tremendous she was. She managed to hold on as a youngster. I first met her as a pre-teen, perhaps in the late 60s, and then later she became our baby-sitter. She went to Woodward, deliberately ran with a rough crowd, wrote poetry like a Beat. When I wanted to learn to smoke marijuana, I called Mickie ? I knew she?d know all about that.
She led a group of Jewish and other friends around the neighborhood to sing Christmas Carols, she was always full of brilliant ideas, her interests expanded to elves and pixies and fairies, she worked in a Northside store selling New Age and other stuff.
I sold her her first house, and one of my sons pulled the car off of her husband Bruce when it fell on him. She birthed baby David, who is now 32. Mickie started the eclectic Passover Seder we still hold every year, with a motley collection of friends of assorted beliefs. When she moved out of town with her husband, Brian and I took it over, and it has been going in one form or another ever since.
By that time it was clear that Bruce was out of balance in some form, anti-social and negative. Yet when she moved to York, she managed to find her peers, writers and singers and organic gardeners and herbalists, and stay in her positive space pretty much of the time. As she was deciding and then divorcing Bruce may have been the time when her beliefs began to slip. Single mom-ing it was hard financially and otherwise.
I didn?t see her often, but the signs were there. She was re-exploring her own Jewishness. And she showed signs of mental stress. And was medicating. She had taken whatever drugs were on the market in high school (she dropped out and then had done just a little college). Now there were prescriptions.
She re-married, the gentle giant Dan, who also had no money. She was scraping by, and raising David, who had a troubled teen time. She wrote several books of poetry, and wrote great columns in the York newspaper. And wrote, after several years where her mental stability was in question, but she never lost her self-awareness, a wonderful book about being mentally ill.
And she began having bizarre illnesses (she spent about 2 years smelling urine wherever she went) for which she was medicated by a variety of doctors, and seeing many mental health professionals.
She and I had been out of touch for a while, but last Monday, October 12, we spent over an hour on the phone, talking and sharing and listening. We talked about her anger and frustration, her continuing struggles with her birth family, and her current physical / mental pains. Also good talk about love and forgiveness. We didn?t get as far as Joy, but still came farther than we had recently. She told me that her son David had, over the weekend, hidden a bun in her oven, and then told her to find the surprise, coaching her with clues about being warmer and colder. She didn?t figure it out until everyone started to laugh ? David?s own way to tell her he and his wife were going to have her first grandchild. She was totally happy about that.
Then on Thursday afternoon, October 15, I got a call from her husband, Good Man Dan, as she called him. When he left for work in the morning, Mickie had been sleeping in the recliner in the living room, which she sometimes did when she woke in the night with breathing difficulties. He kissed her good-bye and left without waking her. When he returned, she had not stirred. So at some point, her Spirit had gone Home.
The results of various toxicology tests will be available in 6 weeks or so. Perhaps one medicine conflicted with another. She was ill with diabetes among other troubles, but nothing in particular to cause her departure at this time. Maybe it was just enough misery for one life time, and time to go.