She's gone...

Below are a few pictures of my friend Roxanne, whom I am remembering today. Today is the one year anniversary of her death.

A picture of Rox and I with our friend, Jessica, at my wedding in 2003

A picture of Roxanne with my son, Carter in July of 2006

A picture of Rox and I with our friend, Lisa, who lives in East Tennessee

Ah, a picture of Rox with our friend, Mark, in 2006

Finally, a picture of the ole Bible study gang in East Tennessee in July of 06. We had a "reunion" of sorts, and boy, are we glad that we did. Here we are playing charades. We always had bible study and then played charades...good times!!!

I'll never forget those words. She's gone.

It was one year ago today that I sat in my in-laws neighborhood and heard those words. I had been chatting with my sister on the way to get Carter from Greg's parents after volunteering at Vacation Bible school for the second day. My husband Greg kept beeping in while I was on the phone, very unusual for him to do that, but I just kept chatting away. I didn't really give it a second thought. Also, my friend Lisa, in Knoxville, had called too and was beeping in, how strange, I thought. Finally, I told my sister I needed to go because Greg kept beeping in. If only I could have savored that moment a little while longer. It was innocent. There was no shock or grief to come. No tears. I was having a happy little conversation with my sister and all the sudden my world shattered.

I finally called Greg and he told me about the message that Krista, Roxanne's cousin, had left on our machine at home. That Roxanne had passed away. WHAT??????????? I didn't believe it, didn't want to believe it. I just sat on the side of the road in shock. Luckily I had not retrieved Carter yet and he stayed at the inlaws a bit longer.

When I called the number I can't remember who I talked to first, Krista, I think. She gave me details. It was very sudden and unexpected. Then Alice, Rox's mom, got on the phone.

Me: "Alice???????" I wish you could have heard the sound of my voice. In an incredulous tone, I was asking if it was real all by just saying, "Alice?????"

Alice: "She's gone, Susan. She's gone"

I learned that Roxanne had been found in her apartment, sitting up, in bed. I won't go into the details but she had sleep apnea and had not been wearing her machine that helped her keep breathing at night. They feel she just stopped breathing. But, they were doing an autopsy to make sure that it was nothing else. After the autopsy and study of all her meds she had in her room, it was found that she just stopped breathing and died.

Roxanne had been through a lot the past few years. But her life was on an upswing. She had lost some weight. She had finally accepted her disabilities, or was getting there anyway. She had chronic, sometime severe, pain from IBS and Fibromyalgia. She had overcome an addiction to painkillers but, still had to take them sometimes to ease the pain. We were all very proud of her. She had found a new church home and was really excited about her church.

I was able to talk to her about two weeks before he death and she spoke clearly and upbeat. She was so excited about her parent's upcoming wedding anniversary party that she was planning. She sounded like the "old" Rox. The one that sometimes rarely made an appearance. It had been a long time since I had heard from the "old" Rox. I am glad we got to have that conversation before she died and not like some of the others that we have had. Where she was depressed, drugged, and not the Roxanne I knew and loved. No, this Roxanne was THE Roxanne I knew and loved and it was so good to hear her voice.

And everyone close to her had pretty much the same thing to say. Things were on an upswing. What a shock this was. She had never been happier. I found out at the receiving of friends that there were rumors that Roxanne had killed herself and that is why she had a closed casket. This was very far from the truth, however, I think there was a time in her life when we would not have been shocked if she had taken her life. She battled depression, like I said before, and there were some very, very low points the past few years. In fact, when I heard that she had died, the first thing that came to my mind was, "did she kill herself??" Again, the autopsy found nothing that would point to suicide.

Well, I was able to see Roxanne in a private viewing before we laid her to rest. Her parents were not happy about her appearance, THAT is why they did not want an open casket. They wanted everyone to remember the Roxie that they loved. Not the one in the casket. Roxanne simply stopped breathing. She wasn't wearing her machine for her sleep apnea. Period. She did not look like herself in that casket. But, I am so glad that I was able to say goodbye in person.

All day today and the past few days I have been thinking about July 10, 2007. I have been thinking about her funeral and her life. I have had several dreams about Roxanne the past few weeks. It isn't unusual. And today, I am remembering happy times. Roxanne's laugh. Our trips together. The time we were roommates (not a good thing). We go way back. Wow.

I don't guess I will ever get used to the idea that she is gone. I just have to come face to face with it every now and then. Then I go on, like it hasn't really happened, until, abruptly and uninvited, it crosses my mind, reminding me that it is in fact true.

She is gone. And I won't see her again on this side of heaven. But, I do "see" her everyday. In some shape or form. She is here. She is gone, but never forgotten.

Love you, Rox and I miss you a lot!!!!
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