Archive for April, 2014

Another Goodbye to Another Good Friend

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2014 by tom

Jolan Albritton, a long-time family friend, died Thursday. She lived in constant pain for years, with autoimmune and skeletal diseases that baffled doctors for literal decades. She was in that capital-p Pain most of us never have to live with, certainly not an entire adulthood.

The great triumph of Jolan’s death is that her pain has stopped. She had a huge family, who supported her and loved her, and she had friends who cared. Pain is the worst isolation, because nobody can be there with you. They can offer bromides like, “I’m sorry, is there anything I can do?” as if every doctor in the State of Florida missed something–“OH. Just take an Advil and an Alka-Seltzer, and you’ll be all fixed”—or bringing a shiny balloon will ease the hurting. It’s nice to know they care, but…

People mean well, but pain–that true, three o’clock in the morning dark night of the soul pain–you are left to face that alone.

Jolan faced her pain with aplomb and grace. She hurt, but she still cared about others. In many ways, that’s triumph over sickness: you can ravage my body, but you can’t touch my soul, damn you.

Jolan’s life was far too short, and certainly far too difficult, more difficult than most people could stand.

My idea of Heaven is an infinite resort in Vegas. Your room is dependent on how well you lived. If you were okay, but kind of a jerk, you get a crappy little room between the elevator and the ice machine. If you were evil, you’ll be up to your elbows scrubbing dishes for all eternity.

Jolan would have a giant penthouse, with all the luxuries imaginable, right down to the solid gold toothbrush holder. It would be a penthouse where she could throw parties for her innumerable friends and family, with the finest catered food and drink, a pool for the kids, and lots of conversation and fun.

But that penthouse would remain empty much of the time. You see, its tenant wouldn’t be there. She’d be down in the ballroom, dancing up a storm, her pain not even a vague memory anymore.

This is the paradise she deserves. I hope and pray this is the paradise she’s enjoying today.

Requiescat in Pace, my former babysitter. Save a dance for me in a few years.

With love,


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