I’ve been shooting for cheery, but it’s just not going to happen in this post. On Saturday morning, so early you might as well call it Friday night, a wonderful woman named Fran Hadloc died. My relationship with Fran is complicated. It’s most accurate to say that she’s one of my best friends’ mom, but that doesn’t give you an accurate picture of what she meant to me. She was a lot older than me, sure, but I considered her a friend. She was Tony’s mom, sure, but she was my mom too sometimes. She helped me get my first office job, so I owe her a supreme debt of gratitude for my current cushy workplace circumstances. She loved my children as though they were her own grandchildren. She taught me about life, and love, and faith. She was willing to talk to me about books, and she always took care to understand me (not an easy thing to do). She loved my husband like a son. She encouraged all of us from Foothill Community Church Youth Group (circa 1994-1999) to develop deep bonds of friendship and to hold on tight.
Her death cannot help but leave a Fran-shaped hole in the life of every person she knew. Energetic, joyful, vibrant: Fran was all of these things and more. I mourn this loss, even though I cannot wish that the events of Friday evening had turned out differently. The truth is, Fran was in terrible pain. The truth is, she really is in a better place right now. I look forward to a time when I can reflect on that with equanimity, when it isn’t a cold comfort. Is it selfish to be sad that she’s gone when I know that death was the best thing for her?
And here’s the real question, the deep one, the almost shameful one: is it selfish that while I’m mourning Fran and supporting Tony, I’m more than half consumed by the fear that I’ll lose one or both of my own parents? It is easy to acknowledge intellectually that none of us gets out of this alive. It is another thing entirely to confront the emotional reality that if I feel this strongly about Fran’s passing, I’m going to have a hell of a time dealing with my parents’ eventual, inevitable, deaths.
All that to say, it’s been a rough couple of days.