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Losses and Crossroads

January 27, 2012

There are a lot of “firsts” in our lives, events that signify a crossing over from some level of innocence to the loss thereof.  From there, we eventually set foot upon a more advanced level with a touch more enlightenment.  Life has certainly been in this mode lately.

Today I took part in helping my childhood BFF lay her father to rest.  It was a tough day for all of us.  She and I spent so much time together from Kindergarten through high school, that to us, our homes, and our parents and siblings, were nearly interchangeable. She lost her mother more than 20 years ago, quite unexpectedly, and then I lost my father, and now she has lost hers.

We endured most of our “firsts” together:  first day of school, first crush, first joys of puberty (yeah, I know…), first dates, first romances, first child, and all that other good stuff in between.

Now we share a very sobering “first” — the complete severance of parent/child role.  She is no longer anyone’s child.  She is now out there on her own (well, not exactly — I mean, she still has her younger sister and me, the unofficial sister, of course).

It seems we are destined to share all our “firsts,” good or bad, joyous or heart-breaking.  And that’s okay. No matter what, we are there for each other, if not always physically, absolutely in heart, mind and spirit.  We may not be blood, but we will be sisters forever. And so I swallowed hard and volunteered to say a few words about her father, there in front of a room full of people I barely knew.  My brain scrambled for pertinent memories and anecdotes from the moment it realized no one else was going to stand up and relate anything.  It appalled me that no one other than the pre-ordained few would feel comfortable sharing.  Did they think everything had already been said?

By the time I made it to the podium, BFF was a red-faced, weepy mess.  She looked at me expectantly and I lost control of my impromptu organized reminiscences.  All the fond pictures I might have painted of this gentle man of endlessly pleasant disposition, devolved into an almost juvenile blurting of how sweet, thoughtful and kind a person he had always been.  The best I could do was label him as “one of those truly decent people,” which was true. The words would not come out, only tears, but she and her sister and I knew what I couldn’t say, and so it was okay. That’s part of what makes us who we are, and why she is my BFF, and why, when my remaining parent passes on some day, she will be there for me, and she won’t be able to say anything either, and it will be okay.



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