I will live out loud for you, my friend.
On October 10, 2007 my best friend lost her life. I talked to her at 9pm the night before, we laughed and talked about 45 minutes and then got off the phone to go to bed for work the next day. At 8:03 the next morning, my cell rang from her home number….taking my daughter to school, I let it ring and decided to call her back after I was by myself. (I wondered why she was home, thought she was sick) When I called back, her sister in law answered….”I”m calling to tell you she died last night”. A sick feeling came over me from head to toe! My first response, “are you SUUUURE”? she cried “yes baby, I’m sure”….I sat there silent….for what seemed like an enternity….then I mustered the words…”oh my god, how?”. Tears flowed down my face, I pulled the car over, and have NO idea what she said to me next…..I just kept replaying the words…”she died last night”. I hung up. My best friend, was gone forever.
How in the world did this happen? It made no sense, she was fine last night! Had tons to do today at her office, had plans for Friday night, was working on new marketing things for her business, and was planning to come see me before Halloween. Who’s responsible for this? who made this happen……and yet still, I thought, maybe they aren’t sure. SO with every ounce of energy I had left, I drove to her house. I wanted to see this myself. The entire drive I cried to her “what are you thinking?, where did you go?”.
Upon my arrival, I’m met by her husband and sister-in-law and I have no idea who else. They cried they told me what happened, how they found her, how they tried to help her, what the police and coroner said……I heard it, but to this day I swear all I processed is “I woke up and she wasn’t breathing”. HER PARENTS?!!?!?!, OMG! ………I left, in a mad dash to her parent’s home. It dawned on me as I was almost in the driveway, that they may not be up to seeing me, they may not want company, what would I say? Her father opened the door…I think I fell in his arms.
The sorrow in that house that morning is still yet to be surpassed. Her poor mom, looks helpless and hopeless. Her parents lost their only other daughter 14 months before. ( I loved her too, my friend was heartbroken beyond words. We had cried many nights trying to make sense of it) I am bleeding for them…and in my own selfish way, just want the phone to ring and my larger-than-life friend to say “Ha! gotcha ya”…it never happened.
Both my best friend and her sister had heart problems. I forget the word they used, hereditary and they never knew they had it. To me, my friend was gone…..no one hurt her, no one was to blame, she died peacefully in her sleep… so I had no recourse, no justice to avenge. I just had to deal with it. I didn’t know how? not since losing my father many years prior had I felt such shock and sadness. Maybe, just maybe, I should have forced her to the doctor for that ONE dizzy spell she reported to me one late night. If only, if only…..
4 years later, I think of her everyday. I have cried to her, laughed with her, asked her silly questions, and told her everything over the last few years. I have wondered if she knows now even my deepest secrets. Sees my weaknesses, and if she’s responsible for helping me through hard times. I like to believe she’s my angel…a very good one! I have missed her more than I can tell you.
I have remembered and cherished our fun/happy times. And there were many! As college roomies, there wasn’t alot we didnt’ get into. Once we put open cans of tuna in her ex’s car because he hated smells, we danced at the club, we dreamed BIG, traveled to Cancun together, set alarms in shifts to cram for finals, graduated college with pride for one another, we embarrassed her parents when we showed up in a wrecker at their gated community…car in tow! The night before her wedding, I stayed up til daylight with her little sister (drinking wine of course) and she was so mad at both of us! We made it through the ceremony and looked the beautiful part for her photos. As soon as we could, her sis and I gave her champagne so she wouldn’t be mad at us. It worked, and we all had the most beautiful, fun day! We later laughed about it for years, she always said she owed me! Then when my daughter was born, I was leaving the hospital and there she was on the elevator, rushing from work…and she gushed about that baby and her beauty as if she was her own.
We became responsible adults, worked our butts off and dreamed of tomorrows. Always an easier future.. more time and money with less work. More time enjoying ourselves, more times together. One more trip to the beach, one more music-blarring-hair-in-the-wind roadtrip. One more weekend by ourselves on the wine trail. Maybe even someday when we out-lived our spouses we’d room together again…a modern day Golden Girls!
My friend left a legacy to me. One I’m still figuring out. The best way I remember her was that she lived out loud. She didn’t give alot of thought to what other thought of her. She didn’t analyze to much, if it felt good to her she went for it…and was wildly successful. She aspired to be anything she wanted. She opened her bar/restaurant (which she always wanted to do), she worked double-time to see it successful, while working in her oil-brokering business she started with her dad. She was life! She was unstoppable! Through her memories, I have learned that to let go. To dream big, I still have self doubts, but I hear this little voice that says “for what?!”… that’s her!…asking me why I’m scared? why won’t I do what others don’t expect of me for a change? begging me to believe in myself and not let others put me down or shadow my dreams. THAT IS WHO SHE IS! She’s larger than life, Always! Her beautiful smile is forgiving and passionate, she’s IT! I know she’s in heaven with golden streets and peace. She’s with her baby sister she loved more than life, she’s egging me on to do the things I’m afraid of…
I write about her, as an honor to her. She was magnificent!! But one reason why I write about her is because as we were college seniors and I confessed to her on an island somewhere that I was getting this business degree to make a living, but if I could follow my heart I would write. She said to me without hesitation, “you can do anything! You’d be great at it— write, by all means—write.”(she didn’t doubt me for a second). She was my biggest fan. I hope that as she is in heaven, watching over her loved ones, she remembers me the same way! Only once did I say she was stupid.. then, I called her mom, who rescued her from an abusive relationship..and she later thanked me.
God knows how much I loved her….I hope she did too. I know she did. We talked everyday for 17 years. First as college freshman in class, then after class, then on weekends, then we lived together, then we talked at 5pm everyday for 1o+ years as we left work.In so many ways, She became the other 1/2 of me.
My friend, my larger-than-life, live-out-loud friend! Who deserved more time on this earth, who was going places, who was beautiful, who loved her family…who was just getting started.
My friend still teaches me. She teaches me to go on. To move forward. That growth means change, and that I’m worth it. I love her, I miss her and in her honor I wade my fears. So I write about her so you’ll know she’s special, she was one of a kind. But I also write about her because she dared me to write in the first place. This piece is to her legacy…an undying friendship and love, a true hero in her short 37 years. I will never be able to repay her for what she did for me, and in her big heart, I have come to accept that repayment isn’t what she wanted. She wanted me to love her…and I will forever.
My Friend, I will live out loud for you! I will set my fears aside and see what happens. Petty things will not matter, and I will see that you are smiling down. I will never stop loving you, and I will not quit. Thank you my friend for loving me. Thank you for being you, and encouraging me beyond your grave. I love you with all my heart…I miss you.
God Hold you and Keep you, my friend. I miss you! I love you! I thank you! and as for the rest of what I feel…there are no words….you were my one-in-a-million!
Rest in Peace….until we meet again.