Last November was the last days of her life. I spent many of those last days with her celebrating the marriage of my daughter, and grieving the death of her young grandson. Last November, I held my childhood friend as she wept, like I have done many times before, and she put her arm around me, smiling, as we posed for a photo at my daughter’s wedding shower.
The photo that was displayed at my friend’s funeral.
Three weeks after Vicki and I took that picture, and two weeks after I spent heart breaking nights with her after
her grandson died, my dear friend was killed in a car accident. My adult children were home for the holiday when I received the call and that night they witnessed their mother fall apart.
Something they had never seen before.
Vicki and I became friends in grade school and stayed true friends every day after that. We grew up together; she knew all my bad things, all my regrettable things and all things in between. Our husbands were friends and our children were classmates just like we were. Through the years we had a longstanding night out, just old friends acting young again. We planned to be the Golden Girls, living out our last days together. I promised to shave her perceived mustache and she promised she would trim the imaginary hairs out of my ears.
We were that kind of friends.
Since her death last November, not a day has gone by that I haven’t missed her. Vicki always called on my birthday, or texted late at night and sat across the table from me at least once a month, telling me things I didn’t want to hear. I miss the wacky things Vicki pulled out of her purse and the little gifts she gave me that now take on a bigger meaning. I miss her razzing my husband about politics and embarrassing a waiter with personal questions. I miss her telling me, “Lorry, what’s happening with your hair.” or “Hey, nice underwear, but I don’t need to see it.”
Vicki always had my back.
This past year, there were moments when I reached for my phone to call her or I find myself thinking about her like she is still here. I still listen to her voicemails and pull up old emails and cry about her in my car. Her friends planted a tree in her memory, somewhere peaceful where I can go to talk to her.
I talk to her a lot.
Since last November, I feel a bit untethered, as if some of who I am went with her. I forget Vicki is gone and then I remember. I think I am better and then I think again. Still, more than anything, more than me missing her, my heart knows where she is and that she is watching over me.
Just like she said she would.
For the complete column, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.