This week I lost my best friend. This is the kind of friend I expected to know until we were so old we may not recognize anyone else but one another. In the day since I heard the news I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions. I miss my friend. I feel this loss so many ways.
Let me tell you about our friendship. We met in kindergarten. We became friends and were in class together many years. In first grade, we scheduled that she would come to play at my house after school. She normally road the bus and I walked, so we had permission slips signed and we walked home after school. The moment we walked in the house my housekeeper (it isn’t as posh as it sounds, my mom was a single parent and a housekeeper was daycare before daycare) stated “she” never agreed to this play date and she forced my friend to call her mother to come pick her up. This story remained alive as a tale from our childhood even to the last decade.
Fast forward a few years to middle school. My friend is crazy about horses and ends up taking riding lessons a few days a week. I end up riding along and learning about grooming horses and picking hooves.
We start growing friendships outward with some really great girls. Moving into high school we were pretty much inseparable. When we didn’t like the outfits we were wearing we often would switch in the school bathrooms. We got ourselves into trouble. We made stupid teenage decisions. We fell in love with boys. We hurt the people we loved. Then my family went into a drug treatment program. That forced a breakup of our friendship.
I apologized when I did it. Her friends protected her from me and because of that, we didn’t see each other or talk for 25 years. That was my single regret in my life. I could never ask for forgiveness.
Then came Classmates.com and Facebook. And after 25 years I was able to tell her how much I regretted the actions of my 15-year-old self. We met just before New Years’, husbands in tow and it was as if no time had passed. We stepped right back into our friendship. When we went to dinner the first time, with our spouses, and the restaurant staff thought our spouses were brothers.
Over the past 7 years, our friendship has been as strong as ever. We checked in often. We kept up with each other even though we were far away from one another. I knew we were there for one another. I knew I could count on her and trust her friendship was equal to mine for her.
When her husband gave me the news, the wind came out of my sails. This was the person I knew was going to my “partner in crime” as an old lady if we ended up old ladies at the senior center. I saw those days. I have never had any other female friendship like that in my life ever. I had one that was close once, but that ended. I worry that I will never have that again.
So, how does this tie into gratitudes?
Last night when the word was being delivered to people a couple friends specifically reached out to me to see if I was okay. I was touched by their concern. I was still in shock and wallowing in my own loss and these two amazing women took the time to see how I was and offer me some comfort. I am truly blessed by these women “who also knew me when.”
While I am still very heartbroken that my friend is gone and I will never see her, hug her, and have her in my life again, I have some wonderful amazing caring and beautiful people that reach out when I need them, even if I don’t realize I do.