one hundred and three

I met Hildur at a schmoozy event at Gustavus where I was the student representative hosting her table and she was one of the loyal Gusties who keeps the school afloat. She invited me to stop by her home sometime and I assumed she was just being polite. I ran into her months later at church and she asked quite sternly why I had never stopped by.

The next Friday I rang her doorbell and she invited me in to have a seat on her davenport. And then she served me cherry cobbler. We've been friends ever since.

We shared lots of Friday afternoons together when I lived in St. Peter and found that we shared a whole lot in common. Both of our families have a history of dairy farming, both of us were Gustavus education majors, both of us worked a lot with the youth in our churches. I addressed her Christmas cards one year and she always left a welcome back message on my voicemail when I came back to campus after a holiday break.

When I graduated, she let me hold my graduation party at her place. After graduation we talked a lot on the phone. If I ever drove through St. Peter either to my grandma's or back to Nebraska I'd try to pop in for a surprise visit. If I was ever overdue in calling her she would let me know it, making me promise that I wouldn't wait another three months to call her again. She loved a good life update and always asked follow up questions from our conversations months earlier. The woman was sharp.

My folks called yesterday to tell me that Hildur passed away in her sleep in her own home. She was one hundred and three. The news knocked the wind out of me because I have been meaning to call her ever since Ivar was born.

Regret is such a terrible feeling. It's such a bad place to find yourself because regret has everything to do with the past and things that can't be undone. I am so sad that I didn't call her in the past four months.

It's tricky because I had thought about calling her many, many times, but I knew it would be a long conversation and I was never able or willing to give up my window of naptime, personal time, whatever-time to actually give her a call. I can justify it any which way, I'm a new mom bla bla bla...but in the end, it still stinks. I would have loved to have told her all about my baby boy and I know she would have loved to hear every detail.

It's amazing how cleary I can hear her voice when I think about her. Her classic response to all of my commentary was always, "well that's just it."

So tonight as I think about a dear friend and a decade of sweet memories and a missed opportunity to celebrate my baby with a faithful cheerleader, I am left eager to make a few phone calls and sieze the day. Because we don't know if we have another day or one hundred and three years. (insert Hildur agreeing here, "well that's just it.")


[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

Aw man. I know we share a similar love for the sweet elderly, and I can understand how hard this news would be for you. Love your heart, girlie. Don't beat yourself up, k?

Jamie Willow said...

awh :( how sad to lose such a friend. i'm sure she knew exactly what was going on in your life even without the phone call, that's the beauty of good friends and especially of mentors.

so so sorry for your loss.

Shannon said...

This is one of your most beautiful posts, Becca. I love how much I got to know Hildur in 3 minutes. Thanks.

Sharing Life said...

Wow, what a beautiful post, and how true. Thank you Becca!