God has blessed me with some great friends and Nicki was a true blessing to me for over thirty years. She died last week after a slow slide into Alzheimers, so it was a long goodbye, but heartbreaking nonetheless. After my mother died when I was 32, I sorely needed an older, wiser friend. Nicki entered my life at just the right moment a few years later and became that friend.
I had three young children and a 12-year old marriage. She became my spiritual advisor and then my ‘spiritual friend’ to whom I told everything. She understood all my ups and downs. She knew my sins of commission and omission and she still loved me. She taught me many things. She taught me the power of prayer and the spiritual practice of the daily examen. She taught me to lower my expectations when it came to other human beings. Most importantly, she taught me to depend on God and not on people.
She was an impressive person. Beautiful, poised, a shining light in the community and a pillar of the Episcopal Church, she still had time for me. Wherever we went for lunch, she ran into someone she knew. She knew literally everyone. Being her friend gave me confidence. When I became the director of my flyover institute, she started taking classes and she brought her friends. She was always positive and supportive. She knit me a prayer shawl when I was going through chemotherapy.
I hadn’t seen her since we all went home to flatten the curve in March 2020, and by then she was fading fast into the shroud of Alzheimers. Now she is in Paradise with Jesus.
I won’t say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again…
A red-winged hawk is circling
The blacktop stretches out for days
How could I get so close to you
And still feel so far away?
I hear a voice come on the wind
Sayin’ you and I will meet again
I will also note the passing last week of film director, Peter Bogdanovich. If you have an hour, I recommend you watch this YouTube video of a lecture he gave at Hillsdale College in 2020, where he talks about John Ford. He is already suffering with Parkinsons’s, but it is a fascinating presentation.
Into paradise may the angels lead thee, and at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee, and bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem.