I woke up to a dream this morning. I was with my best friend. We were in a parking lot, kids and parents everywhere. We were trying to get everyone into cars in order to reach our destination. It is the weekend of her birthday. I turn around and she is gone. Now I am awake. She is blessing us from the heavens with a beautiful day. Just as she was to everyone that knew her, a ray of sunshine.
In second grade, I met this friend that I would have for the rest of my life. All the discoveries and ridiculousness that elementary school brings, we were blessed to share. Birthday parties including fuzzy socks, tag with boys on the playground, crushes, blown tests, sports wins, variety show routines, and lock ins (it was the 70s! Our parents still thought it was a good idea to lock 20 girls in a gym with a teacher overnight.) At the end of 8th grade my family moved from the Midwest to the East Coast.
Our parents were amazing. I was able to come back on multiple occasions that first year and go to high school classes with her. Sue came down to the beach multiple times too. Phones were attached to the walls back then and long distance had an exorbitant fee – so we wrote letters. (The world needs more pen pals.) Even with the miles between us, we remained friends. Sharing our frustrations. Firsts. Details about boy crushes. Plans for the future. All on paper.
Reality was, we were a long way away from each other with busy lives, school, boys, jobs, families. However, any time we had an opportunity to be together, it was like we hadn’t missed a day. (If you haven’t had a friendship like this yet – I pray you have one in your lifetime.)
Ultimately, I moved back to the Midwest. We were roommates. College and careers started. Heart break. Relationships starting over. Sunday dinners at her parent’s house. Still there to support each other. New leases, engagements..
She got married. I got married. Naturally, in each other’s weddings. Lives off in different directions. No longer seeing each other daily. But just as before – like not a day missed, we picked up conversations, like we had just hung up the phone.
We both got pregnant. My first, her only. She had twins. A tough beginning for sure. By now we were both working at the same company. Not something that was planned. Just life. This job took me far away, the West Coast this time. My, the world had come so far, email and cell phones made communication easier.
After a second move, the Gulf Coast this time, my husband landed a job where we did not have to travel and could plant roots at home. Within a few years, Sue started a new job working for my husband. Babies grew to toddlers and then into school years. How was it our babies were the same age now, that we were when we met? Our paths crossed without much effort. But lives continue in different directions and schools for the kiddos. Promises to get together, all with the best intentions. Knowing we had forever.
Sue got sick. Always fiercely independent, she was determine to battle quietly without people all about. She bounced back! Of course she did!! Her smile to grace us all again. And an opportunity to wrap up unfinished business. Watching her twins graduate from high school. And another birthday for her mom.
When the cancer came back, it was with a vengeance. Sue and I communicated through text. I reached out either with words or a picture, meme or memory. I wanted her to know I was here for her. Her texts weren’t as consistent, but meaningful when they came. She was still in that body that was attacking her.
I never got to say good bye. I never wanted to say good bye. I miss her everyday. I hope she knows what her friendship meant to me (and I am sure many, many others). Happy Birthday dearest friend.
I know this isn’t my usual topic, but as I wrote and rewrote the other post for this week, these words echoed in my head. I hope you enjoy this unseasonably beautiful day. Stop and say a prayer for your dear friends! Hug the ones you can reach!
Thanks for being here with me,
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything,
they just make the best of everything.Winston Porter Dodgen