Amber's Abode

Goodbye, Auntie Honey. Daphne will always love you.

My roommate, Helen Carr, died yesterday evening at approximately 6:00 p.m..  She had fought a long battle with COPD, which she freely admitted was a result of heavy smoking from the age of 23.  She was 78 years old.  She was in the hospital a little over a week.  I was at a friend's house when she left, so I didn't get to say goodbye. 

It's strange.  I didn't think I liked her all that much, but I'm finding out that I really did care.  She came here on June 6, her birthday.  We regarded each other warily for the first couple of weeks.  Our bodies and our lives were on completely opposite schedules.  She the morning bird and I the night owl. 

But one day we had a talk and agreed that this sucks for both of us, neither wanting roommates, but this was the way it was, and we had to make the best of it.  After that, we watched out for each other in our own quiet little ways.  Demonstrative displays of affection were not really her style.  Although, she was really proud of me when I became president of the resident Council, and called me Madam President with a twinkle in her eyes ever after. 

I know that she had been a code breaker for the Army during the Korean War, and was an avid golfer.  But I did not know that she climbed Mt.  Fuji twice and Mt.  Hood once.  I knew that she never married and had no kids, but I did not know that she was engaged twice, finding reasons to call it off both times because she could not see giving up her own space. 

She was the most fiercely independent woman I've ever met.  And smart.  Every single day, even the last day she was here, she worked the newspaper crossword puzzle, even if she did nothing else that day. 

They said that she was awake but comfortable when the time came.  They also told me that she said "tell Daphne I love her." Daphne was the name she came up with for me most often, because for some reason she could not remember Amber.  This made me feel so much better, because I thought she didn't know how much I cared.  I got to talk to them today as they are in and out gathering her things. 

When they knew it was time for the very end, everyone in the room took turns telling her they loved her.  She had a single nod for each of them.  Then, she was gone.  Just like that. 

She always went by the nickname Honey, because she disliked the name Helen, saying it was too close sounding to hell in.  And we could not sleep with the door closed because she was claustrophobic.  She had lots of little idiosyncrasies, but those are the funny things that people will remember.  I almost wanted to ask them to make a small hole in her casket, but most of me knows that would've been silly.  She's freed from those fears now. 

I don't feel like she has really left here yet, but that does not scare me.  She would not have any reason to hurt me. 

I love you, Auntie Honey.  Rest in peace and happiness, breathing free.  And know that I will never forget you. 

More Posts by Amber