A Friendship of Respect and Honesty
Libby: 2 children, retired teacher
Best friend of 30 years: Myra, 2 children, teacher, died due to an illness in 2013 at age 60
"What I also loved about Myra was her honesty. We could disagree vehemently on lots of things from politics to religion but we loved each other even more for being so honest and forthright in our opinions."
How did you meet?
We met in a pre-natal exercise class in Nanuet, NY. I was new to the area and taught in a district out of town and knew very few people in the area, let alone pregnant teachers like myself!
What was the friendship like?
Myra was unique. We shared a common Jewish heritage and close family ties. She was brilliant, perceptive, and loving. When I returned to work, she was an immense help to me with car pooling and helping out my kids. Her kids and my kids ended up being best friends as did we. Because I had no family near by, Myra and her extended family became my and my children’s family as well. We went on vacations together, joined a synagogue together, shared recipes and laughs.
Describe how the friendship ended.
Myra was an extremely private person and very traditional in many respects. She did share with me when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer but I was NOT allowed to share that with ANYONE. She had become VERY well known in the temple community, even serving as president of the temple. It was an extreme burden on me to carry this information and to only be able to share it with my husband and eventually my children. She shared the information with me in April, right after Passover. I knew that she was not well…I could sense it because I knew her so well. I could never push Myra to share unless she was ready to. We cried a lot. I became an integral part of her care. I drove her weekly to Sloan for treatments, helped her find a good wig, helped her with chores and sent her cheer up gifts and notes. When the treatments were not working, she called me to tell me that she had decided not to do any more treatments, that she wanted some quality left to her life without feeling sick every day. She was adamant that I not argue with her and that I respect her wishes and that I was not to tell anyone. I had to let her deal with these decisions though I was torn to pieces.
How did you cope with her loss?
Though it has been 2 1/2 years since Myra has passed, I have not erased the 10 voice messages I still have on my home machine. I need to hear the cadence of her voice, the sweetness of her concern for my well being even when she suffered. I have been writing in a journal, I have tried to be a part of her husband’s life by inviting him to join us on events, cooking for him, etc. He too is extremely private and not the type to openly discuss his hurt. I wrote a eulogy which the rabbi used during the ceremony. When I write about her, talk about her, see pictures of her, get reminded of her by scents places and people, I still cry. I’ve always been hungry to live life fully because my mother was paralyzed at the age of 40. One never knows what tomorrow brings and there is so much to love and learn. Myra has only reinforced this in my life but I will miss my dear friend forever.
Is there anything else that you'd like to add about your friendship?
Myra touched so many people’s lives. She was a gifted teacher, a brilliant writer, a traditionalist in raising family, and a giving and understanding human being. What I also loved about Myra was her honesty. We could disagree vehemently on lots of things from politics to religion but we loved each other even more for being so honest and forthright in our opinions. God, I miss that discourse!