I’ve been thinking of my good friend a lot lately because her birthday is this Sunday, June 10th. I spent many birthdays with her, often at the Central Park Boathouse, one of her favorite places in New York City. We’d meet our other friends there for her birthday each year when we were younger. But this year is different. Such a meeting cannot take place ever again.
She passed away from brain cancer on October 17, 2017. She was only 48 years old.
She will not be here to blow out any candles this year. She was taken way too soon.
Taken from her young children and devoted husband. Taken from her many friends and relatives whose lives she touched beyond measure.
I had lost touch with her about 7 years ago. But I now know that she received the card and flowers I sent her before she passed. My friend read my card to her and saw it register in her mind as a tear rolled down her face. I was not able to visit her for she was only up to seeing very close family and friends.
I did not get to say goodbye in person. I did not get to kiss her precious cheek. I did not get to thank her for being one of the best friends I have ever had.
I was not able to attend her wake or funeral in New Jersey. It was the same weekend as a big party I had planned for my 7 year old son in Virginia. A party I could not cancel. A party I barely got through for it was on the same day as my good friends wake.
Since I was not able to attend her wake, it still seems unreal that my beautiful, vibrant friend is gone. It still seems possible that we could all have a big reunion in the city. It still seems possible that I can give her a big hug for the first time in 7 years.
But that is all a dream that will not happen. That can not happen. Until we meet again someday.
Cherish your good friends while they are still here. We never know what tomorrow will bring. A tumor, a car crash, a violent act, a suicide, a debilitating condition. Anything is possible, and as time quickly passes by I understand this now. The deep pain in my heart will never let me forget it.
I keep thinking of a fun night we had at The Hayden Planetarium. We went to a laser light Pink Floyd show. It was amazing to hear the incredible music as the laser lights filled the venue. I briefly looked at her face in the darkened room. It was filled with color, it was filled with joy. The lyrics from “Time” keep running through my head now- ‘The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death.’ Back then death was so far away. We never thought about it or talked about it. We were so young, our whole lives were ahead of us. I didn’t find the time, my plans to get together with her never came to fruition. I lost my chance because death came for her before the song was over.
I would give anything to ease the anguish her family feels. I would give anything to have her back. To order a round of Stella Artois beers and watch the sun set over Central Park, as laughter fills the air once again. The laughter that started when I first met her at 17. The laughter that never seemed to end when she was around.
I will never forget her laugh. I will never forget all she has done for me in my life. She helped me walk a better path. A path that has led to a happier life with a loving husband and two children. A path that would not have been the same without her. Our paths were meant to cross. I thank God that they did.
Take the time today to call, email or text your friends. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, the time is now to schedule that reunion.
We only walk this Earth once, make your time count. Let your friends know what they mean to you before it is too late.
I now walk this Earth with much regret. I will try hard to turn that regret into action in her honor. Action that my kind friend would approve of. Action that will help enrich the lives of others and bring a smile to their faces.
Just like she always did.
This Sunday I will light a memorial candle at the local church. I will say a prayer for my dear friend and her family. I will tell Alexa to play some Pink Floyd, raise a glass of Stella to the sky and smile.
Because I was lucky enough to know her. Because I still love her and always will.
And now I have nothing more to say.