I Lost My Best Friend Today

Marilyn with puppet

I lost my best friend today. The irony is she’s the one I wanted to call to console me. Best friends aren’t easy to come by or keep — especially in this age of mobility. But Marilyn and I have been “spit sisters” (we were too chicken to prick our fingers back in the first grade) for 61 years.

Marilyn had been in the hospital since June 27, when she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. She hung on valiantly for all these months, sustained by her three devoted daughters, her son-in-law and an enormous circle of friends who adored her as much as I did.

I used to joke that like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like Marilyn. She made friends everywhere she went. Even visitors at the De Young Museum used to hang around after her docent tours just so they could say a few more words to her. Several years ago, she shared her passion for art history at one of our GaGa Sisterhood meetings by giving a talk on how to enjoy art museums with our grandchildren.

During our last visit on May 25, just before she got sick, we took our grandchildren to the playground. Marilyn spotted a puppet someone had left on the bench. She picked it up and started talking to it. I was laughing so hysterically I could barely hold my camera still to take this shot. As I looked around, several children had stopped playing and stood watching, mesmerized by her little impromptu performance.

That was Marilyn’s magical charm.


  1. Irene Madrid says

    It is especially difficult to lose a dear friend during the holiday season. I lost one of my oldest friends Nov 17 and Dec 13 was her memorial service. She bravely fought brain cancer and her two daughters were so incredibly strong with her. I can feel your loss and send you my good thoughts.

  2. writerrobynlarue says

    I’m so sorry that you must endure the loss of your friend. I will keep you in my prayers.

  3. Jewish Family Fun says

    So sorry for your loss, Donne, and for the loss to her family and other friends — and for the loss of her light to this world. May her memory be an everlasting blessing.

  4. Martha says

    Oh, Donne, I am so, so sorry to hear of your loss. I know how much she meant to you, as I’m sure you meant to her. She was very lucky to have you as a friend by her side throughout her journey through life. My very sincere sympathy to you my friend.