Sunday, August 20, 2017

Honoring a Best Friend

Today I spoke at a childhood friend's "celebration of life," which was heartbreaking.  Lizzy passed away from a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer in May.  She was my best friend for most of my childhood.  We met when we were both seven, swam competitively together for many years, and then went to the same high school.  As adults, our lives rarely intersected geographically, though she was at our wedding and I was at her first baby shower, so we did share important milestones.  Still, our friendship has always felt like a part of me, perhaps because we were both pretty good about keeping in touch through long letters throughout the year and, more recently, newsy birthday and Christmas cards.

I spoke to her about a week before she died, which I am so grateful for.  She spoke with peace and certainty that we would see each other again and that she would soon be in the embrace of her parents, who each died just a few years ago.  She also spoke about her wonderful kids and I got to see their courage, humor, and strength in action when they spoke at her celebration.  Boy, was I impressed.

It was a lovely afternoon and a privilege to honor her friendship by revisiting our childhoods together.  As I told those gathered, she set a standard for best friends that has been hard to beat.  I loved hearing more about her from others, especially her kids, and it was a blessing to reconnect with her sisters.

Love you, Lizzy.

We had both just turned eight in this photo

Synchronized swimming duet partners, age 11-ish.  By age ten, we were doing swim-a-thons in which we'd swim up to six miles at a time!

One of my supportive and wonderful daughters wrote this on a napkin and handed it to me when I returned to my seat, a word-hug that meant a lot.  I later found encouragement written by them all over my notes.  "We love you, Mom."  "You are doing great!"  etc.  This was nice because in person they just teased me for weeping so easily and so much....

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