Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Will Miss You, My Beloved Friend

My Beloved Friend died on Monday, and I found out on Friday night. How did I not know before then? How did I not feel that something was terribly wrong in my world?
*******

Just in time for 9th grade, my family moved again. It was so miserable to be new and not know anyone. There was a certain girl in one of my classes. We started talking, and I told her how hard it was to make new friends.

"I'll be your friend," she said.

And she was. For 22 years.

The first time she invited me for a sleepover, before the days of G00gle and M*pquest, my mother and I drove all over town trying to find where she lived....only to discover that she lived within walking distance of my house.

For her birthday one year, I snuck to school early and filled her locker with Di3t C0ke. Naturally, she had just decided that she was going to try to kick the habit.

She moved after graduation, right as email and the internet were coming out. Until we had email, we wrote letters. I wrote and sent a letter to her every day for a while, because I missed her so she wouldn't be too homesick. Once I sent her a box of fresh peas from my garden; she thought it was very funny that I would send peas and that they made it in good shape. One December, I sent her a 5-foot tall plastic candy cane filled with chocolate kisses; she said she had quite the time trying to figure out what was in THAT strangely-shaped box on her way home from the post office.

When I was newly married, and living in student housing while my husband finished his degree, I was, again, struggling to adjust to a new place. The student housing was barren (fluorescent lights, cinder block walls), so I decided to make simple table (piano, dresser) runners to try to cheer things up a little. I went to the craft store and carefully selected a variety of bright, happy fabric that was on sale. When I got to the register to check out, I was appalled because somehow, despite the sale, my total came to $50! That was a small fortune at that time, and I just couldn't believe I'd made such a mistake! My Beloved Friend came to visit shortly after that. When she arrived, she handed me $50 and said, "Here! My dad gave me some money before I left so that we could go out to dinner or something. Here's part of the money so that you don't have to keep feeling bad about that fabric."

When I was pregnant with David, we thought it would be so fun if he was born on My Beloved Friend's birthday, but we didn't hold out much hope because his due date was 3 weeks after her birthday. But that was my one charmed pregnancy, and he arrived, 7 pounds, 14 ounces, while I laughed, early on the morning of her 26th birthday.

She invited me into her home as often as I could come visit, so that I could try to recover from the demands of motherhood we could visit and laugh and watch movies and read. She called me a JEWEL when I emptied her dishwasher and vacuumed one day, during one of my visits.

Before I got pregnant for the last time, I spent 2 weeks at her apartment, trying to gather my strength for what was to come. When I had surgery at the beginning of that pregnancy, she came and stayed with my children so that my husband could stay with me in the hospital.

Throughout my house there are reminders of her.

Cross-stitches she made for me. One of them is identical to one I made for her because we accidentally picked out the same pattern for each other that year.

A picture we both liked, so I got one for each of us.

A picture she took while she was travelling because she saw something and it made her think of me.

A beautiful, miserable-to-make blanket that she made for me because she knew I'd love it.

A beautiful doily that matches the blanket.

All of these things that remind me that I will never again, in this life, be able to talk to my oldest friend...the person, besides my mother, who had really KNOWN me longer than anyone else in my life. The smart, beautiful, talented, loving person who knew everything about me and loved me anyway. 

Someone may be thinking, "Well, gosh, Doing My Best, this is all about YOU. What about your Beloved Friend, who is the person who DIED?" I am CERTAIN that My Beloved Friend is a lot happier than I am at this moment. I know that she is in a better place, with someone she had missed desperately for many years. I am grateful that she is finished fighting the battles in her life, but her absence from this world will leave a hole in my heart for a long time, and I am left to wonder if I could have done more...was I the best friend I could be to her? Should I have called more often? Made one more cross-stitch? Sent one more Crappy Day Present? What vital thing did I leave un-said or un-done?

I don't want to check the mail today. I cannot squash the one small hope I have that I will find a letter from her.

Depression killed my friend, and I didn't get to say goodbye.
*******

28 comments:

Mrs. Irritation said...

Oh my gosh. I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. What a brutal loss to you and her other friends family.

This post doesn't seem like it's all about YOU, it seems like it's about love. What a lucky girl you were to have such a friend for 22 years.

Hugs to you, my friend.

shin ae said...

I am so, so sorry.

d e v a n said...

I am so sorry!

Swistle said...

This is so sad, this is so sad, I'm so sorry, how terrible

EmilysHollow said...

I am so, so sorry. This is just so sad.

pseudostoops said...

Oh, how wrenching. I am so sorry.

LE Bean said...

There are no words to ease this hurt but know that I am praying for the peace that surpasses all understanding to find you

Caitlin said...

This is so terrible, I am so sorry. Sending you lots of love and hugs.

Slim said...

It's not just about you -- it's about how the two of you supported each other, how you understood each other, how she was someone whose absence creates an enormous, jagged hole in your life and other people's lives.

Your tribute to her and to your friendship made me smile and cry simultaneously.

The Bloggess is right: Depression is a lying bastard.

Jessica said...

I am so terribly sorry. This is just so sad:(

Emily said...

Oh, R. I'm so sorry. Nothing you did or didn't do would have changed the outcome, so don't beat yourself up. *Hugs*

twisterfish said...

I'm so very sorry.
What a lovely friend to have. I'm glad you have so many wonderful memories and hopefully one day these memories will bring you only happiness when you think of her.

PinkieBling said...

I think the stories you shared here are lovely. I'm so sorry you've lost someone so dear to you. It hurts so very much. I'm sending much love and many good thoughts your way. I hope you find peace and healing. *hugs*

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Thank you for letting us know her through this post - it sounds like such a wonderful relationship and I am so very sorry for your loss.

Mouse said...

Oh I'm so sorry for you, Best. This post is a beautiful tribute to her and your friendship. Sending you thoughts of peace and comfort.

Mrs. Commoner said...

You said it best: depression killed your friend. There is nothing you could have done differently to change that. When my husband came very close to killing himself, everyone (people in the ER and friends alike) kept asking if I had noticed anything wrong, had we had a fightI felt horrible every time I answered by saying I had no idea anything was wrong. Like, what kind of person doesn't recognize that a beloved is so depressed they think the option out is death? It took a long time to realize it had nothing to do with me.

I'm thinking of you and your friend. Drop me a line if you want some virtual, international hugs.

Mommy Daisy said...

So, so, sorry to hear about your friend. What a tragic loss. Hugs and prayers for you! Maybe you find comfort in the friendship you had and memories you made together.

Cayt said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This post made me cry and I can't be articulate, I'm sorry, but I'm sending hugs.

el-e-e said...

You've written her a lovely tribute. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. What a gift she was to you, and you to her.

andreaunplugged said...

So, So sorry for your loss. This was a really beautiful tribute to your friend and your friendship. Sending lots of thoughts your way!

momof3 said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your memories can eventually give you some comfort during this terrible grieving time. How lucky she was to have a friend like you.

liz said...

Sending you all the love in the world.

Elsha said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oh R. My heart hurts so much for you. Friends like that are precious. I am so sorry you lost her and so sorry she was in pain and just plain old sorry.

strangeHeather said...

DMB, I am so sorry to hear this! And she is out of pain while yours just increased, so you go right ahead and make it about yourself. We're here with you.

Shalini said...

Oh, I'm so, so sorry. I hope Beloved Friend is in peace.

Val said...

Last night I was watching a documentary on Snag Films (streaming channel that came w/new Blu-ray DVD player): "Four Lives", about manic depression...
I stared blankly at the screen (busy days at work leave me feeling completely wrung out), wondering why I never got any of the mania? but luckily I've never been suicidal either...

Deepest sympathy on the lost of your friend, what a tragedy.

Manda said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful friend and person you lost! I cannot imagine your sorrow and pain. My deepest condolences.