This is extremely difficult to write. Wolly (for Wollstonecraft) Palmer, who was my friend, partner, buddy, confidant, and for 14 years teacher in the virtues of patience, toleration, loyalty, and friendship, died last night in my arms. She had developed heart failure, in addition to the kidney failure we had been treating for years, and the combination was too much and advanced very rapidly. I canceled my plans and flew back from Greece and so was able to spend time with her at the end. She knew and recognized me and told me that she loved me, that she knew I was with her and would take care of her, and that I love her. It was important that she know that she was not alone, abandoned, and unloved, but loved, with her buddy, and cherished and adored. Her good friend and caregiver when I was away, Ben Wyche, was there, as well, and was able to say goodbye; she recognized him and told him she loved him, too. (She also had a fine nurse who was conscientious and gentle; Wolly dreaded her daily visits, because it meant a needle stick for an infusion, but she knew that she was helping her.)
Wolly was the anchor of my life and my best friend. The grief is very, very hard to bear and at times overwhelming. I had so much more to learn from her and would gladly have given half of my remaining life so that we could spend it together. Our cat, Tiggy (Antigone) Palmer, is confused and struggling to understand why Wolly is not here. She goes to Wolly’s bed and paws at it and asks where Wolly is. Tiggy is very loving and knows that I am sad and grief stricken and that something is very wrong, and she is trying to console me. (Tiggy was the latest addition to the family and assumed the role of the Forever-Kitten, as Wolly was the Queen and Matriarch of the family. For Wolly, she and I were partners and we had a cat. For Tiggy, we were a family of cats, and she was the baby.)
I am working on an essay on our friendship that I will post later.