Zula died last night, alone in her apartment. I had the oddest feeling when I got the call this morning because, until this week, I never spoke with Zula except at potlucks. She made a favorable impression on me at those events, so when I heard she was dying, I regretted that I had not made an effort to know her. Uncertain of whether a visit would be welcome, I sent a card instead. Later, I asked Zula’s friend, Mabel, if Zula would welcome a visit from me, and she unhesitatingly said yes. I had apparently made as good an impression on Zula as she had on me. Now, two visits later, she is gone. I can but be grateful that our lives touched at all.
I joined the lodge fourteen years ago, and I already imagine that ghosts outnumber the living at our meetings. I can but wonder how it must feel for people who joined fifty years ago. They don’t seem to take death as hard as I—indeed, they appear to accept it with shocking casualness. The brother who informed me of Zula’s death was one of her longtime friends, yet he spoke of his garage sale right after describing the position in which her body was found.