My friend who used to be a college roommate died 11 months ago. She had battled non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for over 10 years - through remissions and recurrences. I knew from a note that she sent, that the cancer had come back. Again. I had known for years that I would find out about her death when one of my Christmas letters came back unopened...still, it came as a shock to get last year's Christmas card back with the word "deceased" written across the front.
After I moved across the country, we rarely were in touch. We didn't exchange phone calls or email. She didn't sent Christmas greetings, but I know from getting together the few times that I have gone back, that she loved getting mine. The few times we were together, it was as if we had never been apart. I only saw her 3 times after moving, yet I still considered her my "best friend".
Maybe it was because she was my "Thursday night "girl's night out"" for dinner and a movie every week until I moved. Maybe it was because she was the one who was my sounding board as I made the decision to move from childless by choice to mother. Maybe it was because we shared the journey through undergrad. Maybe it was because I went along as moral support on her first job interview and the subsequent apartment hunt when the interview was successful - I have never known a teacher to go on an interview and be asked to do a second interview with the school board president that same day and who was offered a job on the spot. Maybe it was because and it was my kittens who kept her from sleeping for most of one summer by chewing on her ears and hair (she DID insist on the bed by the window...). Whatever the reason, she had moved on with her life and probably had a new dearest and best friend, but I didn't. And I am deeply sad knowing that she is no longer there, ready for dinner and a movie when I return.
All of these thoughts have made me sloppy and sentimental over the last month and I have googled many people from my past. Yes, it is a little strange...but if I hadn't done the googling, I wouldn't know that:
- our friend the real estate agent who sold us our first house and her husband have retired and moved to the northeast.
- I wouldn't know that my former voice teacher has recorded two CD's (I now own one called Across Time - which is wonderful). And she wouldn't have replied to my email with one of her own thanking me for getting in touch and reminding her of why she teaches.
- I wouldn't know that a friend who lost her husband (also our friend) much too soon, remarried and had another child.
- I wouldn't have read my dearest and best friend's obituary - which caused me to smile and remember - her great love of tennis, her wicked sense of humor, and her deep reverence for family.
And for all the rest of you: all the best for your future..you are in my heart and my mind - and I miss you all. Even as I move forward.