just words

I dont often write posts, I mostly post photos ... but today is a departure from photos to words.

I have been riding the M104 to the office for the last 9 years and way back then every morning I would get on and sit near this handsome older man with a thick white neatly trimmed Afro.

New Yorkers can live for entire lifetimes in one apartment and never meet their neighbors.

You can pass the same people on the street day after day without ever saying hello or for the matter making eye contact.  Its just how it is.

I am not sure how it started but that older gentleman and I began smiling at one another and after a year or so we moved to the good morning stage.  Then about 2 yrs ago we began sitting next to one another and chatting.

I got to know Teddy pretty well before I met Lorraine.

Lorraine took the M104 on Mondays to go swimming at the Y.  I catch the 7:10 bus and so did she but not by choice, she always tried to catch the earlier bus but somehow never did.  We, too, took a long time before we spoke, I am not sure what made us connect but it might have been the morning the bus pulled up and I insisted she precede me onto the bus (there's this thing we New Yorkers do, we wait for buses but dont actually queue up, we just stand there but we always know who was there first ...) even tho I was there when she arrived.  That morning Teddy was sitting toward the front of the bus in one of the single seats and she saw him and stopped to talk .. I continued to the back to my 'usual' seat.

The next time I saw her she told me how she and Teddy had known each other since she was 18, over 50 years,she said.  She filled me in on Teddy's background, his wives, his daughters; how they both took swimming at the Y, exercised there.

After that morning whenever Lorraine was at the bus stop I knew I would be riding alone.  I enjoyed them both, two of the youngest senior citizens I ever met.

About a year ago Teddy said his back ached and he was seeing a doctor who advised PT to help stretch muscles to ease the ache.  But the ache continued and got worse. I listened and I worried, it didnt sound good to me but Teddy's wife was a PhD which made her the one in charge of talking to the doctors, he told me she was tough and wouldnt let them get away with anything.

After weeks of doctor visits, talk of arthritis, he finally got an appointment for an MRI and the news wasnt good: bone cancer.

I saw him 2 or 3 times after that before the weather got really bad and I assumed he stopped exercising due to the snow and was likely getting chemo treatments.

Then about a month ago I saw Lorraine at the bus stop.  As I walked closer and could see her face clearly, I knew she was going to give me bad news.

I was right. She said Teddy had passed the week before.  She'd seen him a month before that for the last time at a get-together of the Y seniors and he asked her to tell 'the white haired lady' what was happening.  She was quite sad and we sat together til she got off at 66th Street she repeated stories she'd told me in the past and I listened as if for the first time.  When she stood to get off I got up and we hugged.  We'd both lost something but her loss far out classed mine.

Rest in peace, Teddy, it was a privilege to know you.


55 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry Daryl, he sounds like a very special man who obviously touched your heart deeply.

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  2. That is so sad Daryl. I know it must be hard to lose someone who was a frequent friend in travel.

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  3. you should write more often Daryl - a wonderful story with a very sad ending - a wonderful tribute to your friend Terry :( xxo

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  4. I'm so sorry, Daryl. To know a friend and then to lose them...

    So hard. So very, very hard.

    These connections matter- now and later. I'm glad you shared moments, memories and space together- if only for a while.

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  5. That is so beautiful, Daryl. I hope you will write more 'just words,' at least from time to time.

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  6. Oh how sad. I'm so sorry for the loss of your buddy, Daryl. What a lovely tribute to Terry.

    I suggest you print it out and keep a copy on you to give to Lorraine the next time you see her and ask her to pass it along to his family. I'm sure that they'd love to know how many people he touched.

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  7. Perhaps not friends in the fullest sense, but very much part of your life and no doubt you will miss Teddy. Sorry for your loss.

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  8. aww. It sounds like Teddy was well loved. May he rest in peace...

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  9. Amen. A wonderful post that says EVERYTHING.


    Aloha from Waikiki my dear


    Comfort Spiral

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  10. In a city with so many people, how lovely that your paths did cross at all...

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  11. RIP Teddy.

    Bus friends are few and far between.
    I too was lucky enough to get to know a few of my fellow riders when I lived in NYC.

    Daryl, we are truly blessed.

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  12. Poor Teddy! My heart goes out to his wife and family, and to Lorraine as well. It was so nice of her to give you the sad news. Proof that you never know how much a smile can change a life. Thank you for sharing.
    You told this so well--write more!!

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  13. A very touching story, Daryl. I'm glad you had a chance to know him. I know you will remember him fondly each time you ride the bus.

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  14. Oh, tears here. I'm always amazed at the amount of people that flow in & out of our lives.

    But, how sweet that he thought of you...

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  15. isn't it something how we touch each other's lives
    I imagine chatting with you was a great way for Teddy to start his day
    Sorry that he's gone but thanks to your words he is clearly not forgotten

    love ya

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  16. It is wonderful that you connected before Teddy passed. I would guess that your conversations were quite meaningful to him!

    Well-written story!

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  17. What a beautiful tale, Daryl. So sorry you all lost Teddy. He sounds like a great guy to know. Glad you took the time and the risk. I'm all about social risk. Life's too short not to be. I'd probably be a terrible New Yorker.

    Hi friend.

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  18. What a wonderful story Daryl and how sad the ending is. But I also find it heart warming how you developed these friendships, having seen the same situation in London.

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  19. such a bittersweet story. I'm glad you had the chance to know him Daryl...I am sorry.

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  20. An outstanding entry of yours, providing an amazing "word photography".

    A nice Tuesday for you.


    barefoot navigation

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  21. Aww :(, But, that is life, good mixed with the sad. hugs.

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  22. sorry for the loss of your friend. so interesting the many ways people can touch your life...I'm sure your commute will be a sad one for a time....but thanks for sharing the story.

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  23. Aww- RIP, Teddy.
    One of my best friends had bone cancer and died. Sucks. Period.
    xoxo

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  24. I like getting to know you better, as I'm sure you enjoyed getting to know Teddy. Life's too short is all I'm saying. Loved this story, sad as it was.

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  25. It's amazing how people can touch our lives and so effect them.

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  26. A sad post to read and I am sure
    difficult to write.

    Losing someone is never easy.
    No matter if that someone is a
    family member , longtime friend
    or someone along your daily path.

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  27. Stopped by to say thanks for visiting my blog, and I leave yours with tears in my eyes.

    I agree with Hilary that you should print out this post and give it to your friend; it would be a comfort to her to know how much you care.

    Good night, Teddy.

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  28. I'm sorry for your loss. He was a special friend on the M104.

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  29. Daryl, thank you for the "Just Words" post. It reminds «Louis» of a friend out here who recently lost a dear friend quite unexpectedly.

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  30. When our friends leave us, they take a little piece of us with them. And that hurts. Sometimes it hurts like hell. But they also leave a bit of themselves behind with us so that others might know them, even if they never met them.

    Teddy couldn't have asked for a finer elegy Daryl. Thanks for introducing us to this fine man. Because of you, we know him a little -- as you knew him.

    Godspeed Teddy.

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  31. D,

    Loss is always tough, even when it's of someone we barely know.

    I like how you noted that in a city, especially the size of NYC, you can go so long without ever really knowing the people around you. It's so true.

    I think one of the things I enjoy most about your fine city is that driving is the alternative rather than public transit. It forces more human interaction, even if just standing together at the bus stop without a word. I used to HATE public transit but each time I travel to NYC, I have to take it to save money and I've found that it's growing on me quickly as a preference. So many chances to meet someone special, as you did with Teddy. It's a sentimental notion but at the very same time, quite inspiring.

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  32. Oh Daryl, I am soo sorry baby. I am so glad you and Teddy became friends on the 104. I felt sad like this when my blogging buddy Dr John passed. Damnit!
    ps-you need to write more. you are good at it.
    <><

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  33. It's a shame you don't do more writing. You're very good at it. This is a beautiful memorial to your friend, bittersweet and touching. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  34. A very touching story. A random encounter, resulting in a brief friendship, taken away suddenly...
    Lovely writing.
    Found you through Hilary's POTW - congratulations.;)
    xo

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  35. I have tears in my eyes reading your post. The triangle friendship was meant to be.
    Joyce

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  36. Daryl:

    Your words are as evocative as your photos, and that's saying something.

    Sorry to hear of the loss. My sincerest condolences.

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  37. Thank you for telling this Daryl. No other words needed.

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  38. This is so very touching...so deserving of the POTW and i can't believe i missed it.

    You are fortunate to have crossed life paths with the two of them - and they with you.

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  39. This is beautiful and sad. I have had train buddies I didn't really know, but who I'd sit with and talk to commuting to school and work. I am sorry you lost your friend. Thank you for sharing this post and this beautiful story with us. Touching it was. /Jo.

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  40. Oh, and congrats on the POTW from Hilary! :)

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  41. Oh Darryl, I'm sorry about Teddy. He sounds like a nice man.

    Please write about your life more often. I'd love to know you better. In a way, all of us bloggers are like riders on the same bus. We see each other mostly in the same setting all the time.

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  42. Amazing story. I am so glad you took the time to talk with both Teddy and Lorraine. Your life was enriched for it and just think how much it meant to Teddy that he asked Lorraine to say something to you.

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  43. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post.

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  44. Even though I knew how it was likely to end, I had tears in my eyes.
    Thanks for sharing

    ~ Rayna

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  45. As heart-warming as it was heart-rending. You make me realize all over again how important it is to make the most of every opportunity to be kind and to make eye contact with the good folks.

    God's peace, Teddy.

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  46. The world is really very small with billions of us on it, yet we are all alone in some odd way. I am glad Teddy, Lorraine and you connected for a moment. Heart skippy post.

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  47. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your story. having worked in NYC for a while I know how rarely people make eye contact, let alone speak. I'm glad you got to know Teddy. What lovely memories you have.

    Congrats on POTW!

    jj

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  48. I've always loved your blog, and I can't believe it's taken me so long to say so. Anyway, this is a beautiful post. It is a reminder that there are many rewards to be found if we just be open to them.

    I'm sure Teddy (and Lorraine) will stay with you always. Imagine if you'd never met them.

    Rest in peace Teddy.

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  49. That's so sad Daryl. I love how you all got to know each other though.

    Just having a catch up lovely. The photos have been gorgeous as usual as has the new header and husbandisms. That new settee looks so comfy and I love the tales of your new pets and that Bubblewench has given a home to Lucky. Big hugs. xxx

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