To My Oldest Friend: You Didn't Die Childless, You Left Yourself In Me

Anonymous Anonymous in Life Is Tough on 18 April, 2020

25th Nov 2014


After spending a few months here, I was still coping with the transition.

I had travelled several times earlier, however, this time it was not the same. This travel came with a lot of apprehensions, uncertainty and anxiety because this was something like uprooting a mature tree and planting on a completely new Island. I was leaving too many memories and belongings. I was leaving a part of me in this city. This city transformed me from an amateur individual to a confident woman. I harboured endless emotions and relations, which shaped my identity and belonging. I realized my personal legends here and created a world of my own. Sometimes, you got to let go of your world in the hope of better tomorrow, although you are not sure if tomorrow is really going to be better?

This was emotionally draining for me. Fear of the unseen and speculation of time and the kind of effort it takes to rebuild it again always bogged me down. That was the time I met Doreen Marzec. She was a 93-year-old Polish lady introduced by my YMCA age care coordinator. She was the brightest! She had grace and the most active mind at the place where she lived.

Life brought us together because we needed each other to pull through this time. Sometimes, though you are contributing to the surrounding crowd, you are aware that you do not belong there and you still try to strike a harmony. You are aware that your journey is different. At this point in life, I was very clear what I wanted to do. I had little time after my domestic chores and personal obligations, which I wanted to spend in a more meaningful way.

Probably, I needed the warmth and comfort which a granny brings with her bullet-like chit-chat: Dipped in experience, spiced with wisdom. She had something which settles your anxiety and reaffirms your faith and direction of life. For Doreen, it was more like having a person to talk her heart with, when she knew she had entered the last leg of her life’s journey. She needed someone to share the joyful memories of the chocolate factory, where she started working after migrating from England, someone to confide the mistakes of life and relationships. Someone she could share how eagerly she is waiting to reunite with her husband in heaven. Someone, she can sum-up her life’s last chapter with.

I was just the means which she had to meet her end. With Doreen, there was some amazing chemistry. It just took the first goodbye hug, and I found myself in front of her after every two weeks. Sometimes, striking such chemistry with a complete stranger liberates you and your freedom of expression. Doreen had become like my teenage pal. I could discuss any topic under the sun with her.

Meeting Doreen was a respite from the busy life I led in this country, juggling through all the “hats” a woman can possibly wear. Every time I met her, she ignited something new in me. Every time, I drove off from the age-care with new thoughts to ponder, new perspective to the common situations any lady of my age would be in. Sometimes seeing your individuality through someone else’s eyes helps resolve many battles which you are fighting mentally. Sometimes having a different perspective pushes you closer to serenity and positivism. Sometimes you can find the light within, and all you needed is someone to ignite it. Doreen was one of those people who ignited souls with her wisdom and grace.

Doreen was struggling with cancer and was a brave fighter. She is not here with us today. I believe she must be looking down at us with a smile on her face. I knew I was going to lose Doreen soon. I knew I was going to lose a gem of a friend in her, but somehow I was prepared for that, as I knew I was entering her life in the last stretch, and she could slip away any moment.

In such circumstances, all you can do is pray for the healthy and peaceful departure of the soul. Doreen had no children and this kind of strengthened her to get ready to go, but at the same time, I could see the pain of not being able to leave a part of her on this earth while she is going, which was evident from the conversation, ”Emptiness in womanhood” , and that was the only topic where I felt incapable of consoling her.

At that moment, all I could tell her is “A part of you will always breathe in me, Doreen. I might not have your genes but I will carry your thoughts and memories," and that conversation was followed by an assertive smile and sparkling eyes.


This Easter, Doreen is not with us, but I am glad we met and created some wonderful memories to cherish through all my life. It’s been more than five months since she left us to cope with this world. Every holiday will come with her memories, and every time I know that part of Doreen will breathe in me.

Thank you for everything Doreen!
Editor's Note:

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