I have always believed that no matter how long a person is in your life, whether a short time or a life long friend, that each and every person is meant to be there. Each person we meet fits like a puzzle piece into our lives. Take that piece away then there is an empty space. Friendships grow, change, evolve and sometimes lose their way. I have been fortunate to have many amazing women in my life. Some have passed through while others have remained for years. Some friends I have gone years without actually seeing yet that doesn't change the feelings I hold for them. There are new friendships I have formed that have evolved and become strong and vital to me. I am thankful for each and every single one as every person is as unique as the friendship they bring.
Last week I was scrolling through Facebook feed as usual. There it was on her page: "RIP, you will be missed." I instantly felt numb, sick, and sadness washed over me. I jumped to her page and started reading a couple of comments which confirmed my inner fear. She had passed away. I found out on the day she was buried. This burned me even more as I would have been there to send her off in peace. To tell her one last time that I missed her. To let her know that I loved her and no amount of time that separated us would change that.
We grew apart somewhere around 2011. There was no falling out or ugly argument. Both our lives started moving in other directions. We would send one another the concessional "I miss you" either by text or via one another Facebook page yet never get together again. The news of her passing hit me and had me searching for answers. I am not sure what exactly I was looking for. Maybe peace; for her and for me. What I found instead were several conversations on her FB page that she and I exchanged, runs that brought me to tears, and dreams where she lingered. She was gone. That final message on her Facebook wall we exchanged on July 12th, 2012 would be our last. Four years and one day to the day she passed she passed away.
This isn't my grief though. My heart aches as her friend and the friendship we had formed long ago. What pains me the most is that she was not just a woman, not just a friend, but she was a mother. Left behind are children who won't have their mom to call anymore. A daughter who won't be able to have her mother braid her hair, paint her nails, kiss her tears away or go wedding dress shopping with. Left behind are son's who will no longer share the excitement of their day, her arms wrap around them, and hear her voice tell stories of her childhood. It's their sadness that penetrates within me.
All those little things we take for granted every day, they matter. That is what I kept going back to on my runs each morning. The simple things are really the things that matter most to our children: brushing their hair, washing their hands, and putting them to bed. Singing songs, reading books and belly laughs. Cleaning dirty finger prints off the doors and windows. Wiping boogers and butts and holding them close while they are sick. Getting them ready for their first day of school or sending them off to camp. Many are small tasks we sometimes grumble over. Small yes, but so very important to a child. Each and every interaction we have with our children helps to shape them and they remember the littlest things. Things which we may not realize are so big to them.
Tears greeted my face a few times as my feet hit the pavement last week. I felt a heaviness in me that was all too familiar and unwelcome. I have never been good at handling my own emotions when it comes to death. I have lost people close to me over the years and one thing I have learned is that grief takes form in many ways and the pain of losing a loved one never truly goes away. All the while my runs were filled with prayer, asking God and her to watch over those children and leave them with only happy memories. There were also prayers of selfishness asking God never to take me from mine. The very thought of it brings me to tears and terrifies me. I want to be able to share and become better at savoring each and every moment. Even all those little ones. The silent ones. They all matter, each and every one.
Her death reminded me not only of the beautiful person I remember, the one who loved babies and dogs, it also reminded me just how we never know what each day brings. We are not promised tomorrow. There is no guarantee you and I will speak in the morning or even next week. So maybe we all need to be better about telling those we love how much we love them. Send a card, pick up the phone, or make that time to see them. Most importantly, if you have kids, hug them tight. Tell them you love them every chance you get. If they ask to snuggle, then stop what you are doing and snuggle. Those hugs your kids give you, hold on tight when they do. Those dirty little fingers on your glass door that you want to Windex away, maybe just leave them there a little longer. Someday these moments will all seem so far away. Let's not wish we would have made the time for all the amazing small moments. I hope I can be better about creating more and living in them. This life is a gift, always live it with a grateful heart. Most importantly: Always say I love you!
people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people stay for awhile,
and move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding,
leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." ~ Flavia Weedn
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