Captain’s Log 5,871
I really miss my old pal, Miss Hiss from the Australian Outback. She passed away about a year ago. She died suddenly from a massive heart attack. We had been cyber friends for quite a few years. She was a big believer in sending gifts. I got clown shoes, all sorts of pirate stuff, etc. In turn, I sent her Mexican candy, solar Tiki lights, and fluffy purple handcuffs, etc. It was always something. We had discussed having me visit the cattle station she owned and operated with her husband. I knew it would be an arduous trip, but I was thrilled at the very idea.
She stopped contacting me. Out of the blue. She just stopped. When her husband told me about her death, he also told me she had become quite ill and she didn’t want me to know. She didn’t want me to visit. That was her way of making sense. I knew something was wrong, but I never questioned her. I let her be. After about six months of not hearing a word, she contacted me to re-send six tubes of lipstick to her. She bought them on eBay and the shipper would not send them to Australia. I was happy to do that. I sent a chatty email in response and heard nothing.
I knew she was reading my electronic newsletters from the museum (can track that stuff). But she put up a wall – because she was sick and she didn’t want me to know. When I heard the news of her death, it all made sense. I was in the kitchen cooking potatoes when her husband called. It was shocking news.
Miss Hiss (real name was Rayna) loved her husband Jeff more than life itself. She married him and they carved out a successful life on their cattle station. She was once a high school principal, but she left that job to help manage the business. They were quite a team. She adored him.
When he called to tell me the news, her said something very odd. Her asked me if I thought he was handsome enough to get another wife. He was already going down that road. It was awkward. Miss Hiss was my friend. I did not know her husband at all, and it felt strange to discuss something so weird. It seemed inappropriate for him to be asking me that – especially so soon after her death.
Well, lo and behold, less than a month later, I got an email (sent to lots of people) from the husband showing off pictures of himself with his new fiance. She is younger than Miss Hiss. She is more “on the grid” than Miss Hiss. And from what he said in the email, I am surmising that he had her on the string for a long time. She is from Tasmania, and he sailed there every year and stayed a month or more on the island. For many years. It broke my heart to see him crowing about this so soon after Miss Hiss died. I know we all make choices and do what’s best for ourselves in our circumstances, but it was shocking.
He went on to say in the email that he had taken Rayna’s unusual art collection off the walls. He had painted the house a more “normal” color. He also gave away the dogs and her library.
Then, I got a private email from him. He asked me if she had ever given me the password to her online journal because he wanted to delete that too.
It still makes me sad. Good old Miss Hiss – potty-mouthed and brilliant. She loved road trips as much as I do. She sent me a photo once of herself in the car. She was on a road trip with her cousin, and it was cold enough to wear fuzzy hats. She was so excited about that.
My funny and irreverent friend – missing her so much right now