I feel as if I'm too young to get those phone calls. The ones that come and literally transport you into a place of disbelief. The ones where your heart slowly, and sadly, starts to accept that which your mind still can't grasp. But I found out this week that I'm NOT too young.
The call that my friend had died suddenly of septic shock came...and the finality of it still makes me catch my breath. Now, this isn't a friend that was part of my daily life.
She wasn't someone who I would sit and talk with for hours on the phone.....or sip wine on the deck with...or sit beside while we cheered for our children.
I hadn't even seen her for close to 6 years.
So why did the tears tighten my throat then silently run down my cheeks....catching me off guard as I went through my day?
Why did the initial shock and sadness not slowly fade?
Why did the impact of her death stir such deep emotions in me?
Maybe it's because she was a childhood friend.
The friend who was my friend before I even knew what that word encompassed.
The friend who lived across the street and 5 houses down... who had the street post in front of her house...
whose sudden light spilling out signalled us to come in for the night.
The friend whose house I would bravely try to spend the night at...only to have to do the 1 AM walk across the street..parent meeting parent... exchanging the child who longed for her own bed.
My secret sharing, song singing, sailing on the swings friend.
She was also the friend that taught me that families are very different...and family doesn't always mean a cozy, soft place to land.
My young mind would try to process why her parents said the things they did to her.
My young heart knew that something wasn't right when I would see her mixing drinks for her dad when she was 7 years old.
I was confused when I would see her standing on a stool by the stove making Spaghetti~O's for her dinner...night after night.
Although we lived in brick, cookie-cutter homes ....the life inside those homes was in vivid contrast.
We grew and found different circles of friends. I watched her body get bigger as she tried to numb her hurt with food.
I saw her strive to be a "good girl"...to please everyone.
I heard the chuckles, the taunts, the "Too bad she's so fat...she has a pretty face" comments.
I know she heard them too...and she carried them in her heart and soul.
Although in our high school years we each found other best friends...we were linked.
We still loved each other with the kind of special love that little girls have for their friends.
And when she married at age 18, to escape the house of sadness, I stood beside her.
I watched her dance that night and felt happiness.
Her life was full of joy and sorrow like all of the lives that surround us.
She remained married.
She had two beautiful girls that she adored.
Yet, she was never able to escape the chains that bound her to food.
Each year as her weight increased her link with the world outside her home decreased.
Soon she couldn't work anymore...and eventually her size kept her from being able to fit in most vehicles..so she became more homebound.
She became a recluse...a prisoner of her addiction and her failing body.
But even as she fought the public humilation and the private shame she never lost her heart.
The heart that was kind and generous.
The heart that bore so many scars. I believe those scars made her more compassionate..more loving.
I will see her for the last time on Friday.
I will stand at her coffin and try to make sense of the nonsense.
I will mourn the childhood dreams we both had that never came true, and I will rejoice for the ones that did.
I will want to protect her from some of those people who are viewing her...
the ones who didn't understand her struggle..
who will only see the body and will pass judgement.
The judgement that she did this to herself...that she could have prevented her early death.
But I know I can't really protect her from others thoughts...and I don't need to anymore.
She is healed of all that hurt her...and free of all the chains that bound her.
She will be waiting for me to join her again.
And maybe, just maybe, when that day comes..
We will share our secrets, sing our songs, and sail on those swings once again.
Freely and full of joy.
Linking up with: Pour Your Heart Out, Write On Edge~Weekend Linkup