Today I am mourning the loss of my best friend. She died nine years ago. I spent the day looking at old photos and reliving our time together. In between, I cried, as I do every year on September 23rd.
We shared 31 of the most important years of our lives. It isn’t the length of time we had that I mourn, but the timing of those years. I met her when we were almost 19 years old, and lost her when we were 50.
She’s the only one who knew me before – before husbands, kids, divorces, remarriages, and a host of other life events. We were the…
Keepers of the secrets.
Best friends share confidences not fit for outside ears. They trust each other with those secrets for eternity. I still keep her secrets. But there is nobody left on Earth who knows mine. They died with her.
We shared the time in our lives when we were dating, looking for love, finding love, getting our hearts broken, finding love again, and finally marrying. We whispered about marriage and relationships. We shared recipes and tips on being a housewife, and plotted careers. We supported each other during pregnancy, motherhood, and parenting. Later, we chatted about failed marriages, getting back out there, finding love again, second marriages, blended families, and our adult children. In between, we confided our secrets. Ultimately, we spent time together while she battled ovarian cancer and I spent long days with her in her final stage at a hospice.
She’s gone. When she died, part of my heart died with her.
But I was just the friend.
In death, the friend is nobody. There are protocols for wakes, funerals, a repast (repass), receiving lines, paying respects, etc. When you’re just the friend, there is nobody there for you. We are all there for the family. The friend grieves silently and alone. Today, on this ninth anniversay of my loss, I am breaking the silence.
I am mourning the loss of my best friend.
It sucks. It hurts. I’m in mourning. I’m crying as I write this. I miss her every single day. I can’t “get over it”. I don’t want to forget. She was important to me, an important part of my life, and I still want to talk about her. She’s still in my heart and my head and that will never, ever, change.
We should be continuing our conversations. We both have grandchildren now, but I will never be able to live and share this wonderful part of life with you.
What I would tell her if I could.
Your daughters have grown to be awesome women. You have beautiful grandchildren you never had a chance to meet. Life has moved on, but you are still in the hearts of everybody who knew you. You were loved. You are still loved.
To my friends and family…
I love you all. Not more or less than this friend, just differently. We share a relationship, role, or time in our lives that is different from the time I write about here. In no way are you less important to me.
Love, not hate. Tell your friends and family how you feel in the here and now. Don’t wait until you can’t.
Live life, don’t exist. If you hate what you’re doing, stop. If you’re not with the right person, leave. If you aren’t doing what makes you happy, start now. Because life truly is too short to wait.
Rest in peace, my friend. Don’t forget we have a date in the future at the big tea shop in the sky. We have a lot of catching up to do!
May 18, 1957 – September 23 ,2007.