(April 29, 1967-April 10, 2012)Today, I went to the grocery store and had a good ol' fashioned "ugly cry" in the cereal aisle. I am no stranger to crying in grocery stores. Or cereal aisles. The only difference this time was that you were not with me. Do you remember, Stacy? Crying together in front of neatly shelved Cocoa Puffs?
I remember many things...
I remember when James and I loaded our ugly, thrift store furniture into a truck, boxed up all of our belongings, and moved into the neighborhood near your street. You were one of the very first people to say, "Hello!" But you didn't just say hello. You wrapped your arms around my waist and kissed my cheek and made me feel like I had stepped into the sunshine. It was warm and wonderful, and I knew we would be friends. You were one of the first to love my family. And you were easy to love in return.
You invited me on lunch dates with our lovely group of friends. We would cackle about good looking vampires, embarrassing moments, or trips to the gynecologist. One day, you introduced me to your favorite restaurant, Grinders--a greasy dive with big, mouth-watering sandwiches. We ate lots of fries and giggled over the size of our diet sodas. We laughed and cried over the silly and beautiful things in life.
You always made me laugh. You knew how to light up a room. You rubbed my tummy when I was pregnant with Camren. You frequently told me I looked pretty.
I remember when you welcomed my little family into your home one Halloween night. We came trick-or-treating, expecting a package of Smarties or a miniature candy bar. Instead, you fed us homemade chili and sent us home with a loaf of french bread and a plate full of cake. That's how you were--always so selfless, willing to give to the people around you.
You made me feel like I was enough--easily accepting me for me. You would sit by me in church, and hold my hand like a sister. I never doubted that I mattered to you, or that I was truly treasured.
And lastly, you were the one to share my sadness; the one who cried with me in that cereal aisle. Camren was just six weeks old, and I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I confided in you that I didn't know how to juggle being a mother to two small children. It was busy, hard work, and I didn't think I could do it well. I felt alone. We cried, embraced beside our carts, and scared many of the (wide-eyed) shoppers who had come to the store that day! I will never forget what you told me. You looked me in the eye and poignantly said, "Things are going to get better. You are an incredible mother, and I know you can do this. You can. You were born to do this. I love you and I will be praying for you."
Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese-American poet (and my favorite), wrote: "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
You were a delight, my dear, dear friend, as was your genuine friendship. My life has been exponentially blessed--my world made more joyful--because you have been a precious part of it. Oh, to feel your kisses on my cheeks once more, to hear your laughter, to sit beside you! I look forward to the day when I will embrace you again. (Are there cereal aisles and grocery stores in heaven?!)
Until then, I will carry your memory with me--keeping it close to my heart for my lifetime.
I want you to know that I'll miss you so much.
I want you to know that I love you.