Friends don't let distance keep them apart

Nancy Puig

I first met "Mac" 16 years ago at a hospital we both worked at. He was just another doctor but in the ER where I worked people get close. He became my best friend. We were like brother and sister and he often called me "little sis".

On my 39th birthday, he made me a chocolate cake from scratch, it was lopsided but the best cake I had ever seen. He and his wife, Nancy came to our house at Christmas but mostly it was Mac and me. He always gave me "pep talks" like the day he showed up at my unit and said in front of everyone "repeat after me....I am somebody"

He was so good and so sweet and when he divorced his wife and met Peggy, I thought he would finally be happy. He moved to Georgia to start a new life and his last words in person to me were: "Friends don't let distance keep them apart". No one ever understood our friendship but it was very special. He was my hero in a time when there are so few heros.

In January, I tried desperately to reach him at the hospital where he worked. We hadn't talked for a while and I felt something was wrong. Each time, I called one of the operators would say "he isn't picking up". Finally on February 18th, I called and the girl said: "Oh he died". Mac had been dead for 5 weeks and no one thought to call me. I called his new wife and she just said "I'm sorry, I forgot about you".

I didn't get to go to his funeral, I don't know where he is buried and they even had a memorial service for him here in Tampa and everyone was asking "where is Nancy" but no one thought that I might not know.

I miss him so much. I lost my sister a few months ago and my parents just a few years ago but nothing has ever hurt me this much. I told my husband, Danny, that this is one that I will never get over. It was rough with my sister but Mac was my rock. He promised that he would never leave me, that he would always be a call away.

He always sent me a postcard from wherever he went but there is no postcard this time. I can not call this place where he has gone and hear his voice.

Mac was only 52 years old, he did cave-diving, skiing, mountain climbing and even bungee jumped once. He was too healthy to have some strange virus cut him down. I just don't understand. He was a doctor, why didn't he know? If they had called me and told me he needed a liver, I would have given him mine. I would rather have died than to have him die.


Nancy Puig

You can email Nancy: [email protected]
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anniversary date 01-14-99
date of post 04-05-99


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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW