Friday, February 26, 2016
We were so very much alike and yet so different. She was a talented writer and artist and fellow geek and browncoat. She introduced me to Stargate SG-1 and Pandora Radio.
She had a wonderful laugh and truly the best version of a Southern accent in the sweetest voice. She was over the top proud of her kids. I know, all moms are supposedly, but she really was.
Her joy was in caring for people. She was always interested in medicine and helping people and she fought hard to finally become a nurse. She had just started a job as a nurse in a nursing home and she was so excited about it.
She was in the middle of making me a quilt. I'm insecure enough that I spend a lot of time second-guessing whether people really like me or not, but I never ever doubted she loved me. Every conversation with her, silly ones or hard ones, short or hours-long, she made it clear. I hope she was as sure of me.
She is one of the few people as crazy about cheese as I am. I don't know what the weather was like where she was when she died, but here we were having the kind of storms we both loved. We sat on her bed and folded piles of her laundry while visiting, or just watching tv...we could spend whole days together because we could just be ourselves with each other. She showed me around Miami. She wrote me HAPPY BIRFDAY once a year. She encouraged my writing. She refused to let me invalidate my own feelings, and I still think of that whenever I am tempted to rationalize away the way I or others feel. I totally failed at helping potty train her oldest son. My oldest son and her third boy are just months apart, and I remember them lying next to each other on the floor as babies. Hers was older, but mine was huge, so I joked that mine looked like the "dumb jock" next to her boy. Two of our daughters are close to the same age. We wanted them to be friends, but with 600 miles between us, that never happened. She was without reserve ecstatically happy for every single pregnancy I had, and completely over the moon about her unborn grandson. I named my oldest daughter for her. I remember her reaction when we told her over the phone. She was speechless. That didn't happen often. She cried. That did.
She loved the whole idea of my mini-micro farm and was so encouraging about it.
She fought so many battles in her life against horrible demons, and she didn't always win, but she never ever stayed down.
She was looking forward to getting old and being "covered in grandbabies" and she planned on carrying butterscotch candies to pass out to all the kids.
I missed her terribly, but didn't talk to her nearly as often I would have liked.
We made so many plans to visit each other and they always fell through. I've imagined her meeting my friends here so many times; they would have loved each other. She really wanted to attend the Pascha service at my church, and she was excited about being my "bridesmaid" when we celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary. We were going to get tattoos together. I have hundreds of pages of conversations with her saved on my computer. Our hundreds of hours of phone conversations are fading but precious in my memory. We always talked about hopefully seeing each other again SOON and how great the hug would be when we finally did. Now I've finally made it to her home and she's not here.
Her life changed my life and made it brighter, fuller, warmer, more thoughtful, and more exciting. 600 miles away, my life isn't going to change much with her gone, except for the new emptiness that's just everywhere.
"In the days after she died, the world seemed filled with a harsh, caustic, almost shadowless light that it hurt to see."--from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry