I have been thinking about you a lot since April 5, 2021 – the day you left this world and took your talent with you. My heart has been sore and heavy since. I know you read some of my blogs – you told me. You told me it was a gift to share my vulnerability. I use this space often to reflect on how I respond and heal from heartbreaks – of which I have had a varied sort. You – being my most recent.
You and I met in the awkward awakenings of 13-year-olds in junior high school. We watched each other up close and personal as we evolved through the next 6 years until we graduated high school together. We were always in the same friend groups in each of those years, but our closest year was that last one. Our senior year we spent the most time and space with each other.
This photo of us is my favorite. It reminds me most profoundly of that which you most gave me. A safe place for me to be me and you to be you. We were comfortable in silence with each other. We liked thinking into the big picture of life together as 17-year-olds are want to do. We spent hours alone together on a canoe heading down the Niobrara during a school trip senior year reflecting on life after high school.
The summer after graduation, you drove me out on a summer evening to the bread factory on the outskirts of town to smell the bread baking. I haven’t forgotten it after all these years. I remember thinking how profound it was that you knew this. You had taken the time to be present to the life around you and pay attention to the simple act of noticing the scent of fresh bread baking in the evening. While we shared a kiss that night we never shared a romance. We didn’t really know what to do with our fondness for each other.
Now I see it for the gift it was. You were as solid a friend to me as I had during that time I was moving into adulthood. You and I were helping to shape each other. You and I were both creatives learning how and why we had those callings – although yours was much easier to identify with your glorious singing voice that made all of the girls’ swoon.
When you reached out to me in the last several years with what seemed to be foggy and filtered questions, I regret now that I didn’t push harder to know you and what you needed. I have a deep sense of loss that I wasn’t able to support you then. But I can support you now in the celebration of who you were to me in my life. I can be in gratitude and serenity about the pureness of the friendship we shared when our time in this world included each other.