Friendship is amazing and interesting to me….some friends are in your life for a short time and others you may know for many, many years. And yet despite duration, proximity and/or circumstance, some friends are deeply enmeshed in the fabric of who you used to be and who you are now. I’ve lived in many places over my life and made a few close friends in each of those places, mostly women, who have deeply impacted my life. Recently I got to spend time with a friend I met when we were both 7 years old, that was 35 years ago. We spent very formative years of our life together….making mud pies, begging my mom for sleepovers, eating my mom’s delicious apple pie and finding ways to get rid of her horrible eggplant and brussel sprouts, watching Shirley Temple movies on Sunday afternoons, becoming blood sisters, figure skating, munching Old Dutch Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips in the library, chasing boys in the schoolyard, writing notes, celebrating birthdays, making new friends, writing letters, sneaking around old haunted houses, drinking slurpees and growing in to teenagers together when things got a bit more complicated and challenging. We were separated at the age of 16 and from there we mostly went our own ways…both of our families changing in ways that would shape us for our futures. And through these changes we weren’t really together. How can I remember the earliest moments of our friendship in such detail and forget the times we spent in our early twenties? We both grew up so much and yet remained so much the same in so many ways.
And so seeing you now, after 15 years, both of us in long term relationships, with careers, and with young girls of our own, feels momentous…seeing you has awakened something in me. Maybe it’s that you were the closest thing I ever had to a sister. Seeing you now has made me sad that we waited all these years to see each other and curious as to why we waited. I suspect there is a greater meaning behind it all…a meaning that I thankfully don’t feel the need to interrogate to understand. It is a meaning I feel deeply appreciative of. My life lived so far away from what was once home seems to have kept me from so much and yet allowed for and opened up so much. It was a choice you too made, to live so far away. We seem to have lived such parallel lives in varied and congruent ways and so now when we get together it feels in harmony…like we never were apart and yet we grew remarkably.
When you left this morning I felt a deep longing for more time with you. But with you gone I was left only with my ability to inwardly unravel what about you, and our friendship, was knocking at the door and demanding to be attended to. I sensed my freedom that I so love and appreciate, my naughtiness that makes myself and others laugh and relax, my love of beautiful things that brings serenity, my confidence in my own beauty that allows me to live with more grace, my courage to say the truth that is a constant part of my work, and my excitement to explore and take risks to feel alive. I think we grew that up in ourselves together. I don’t know if that was just me from the start…I imagine that spending such formative years together contributed to our following some similar paths….so that now we find ourselves living and loving in similar ways. And so perhaps our time together mirrored back to me who I am; spending time with you was an important reminder of all that I am and all that I have access to.
And so I sit, tearful and sad that you are gone. Yet so much of who you are is in me. I will be sad for now but that will pass. I can see and accept that what I love in you and miss so deeply in you is right here in my being. This has been a beautiful – and in a way, unexpected – surprise after all of these years apart. Somehow we found our way back and we had this time. So thank you for your friendship for the past 35 years, for knowing me so well and for being a sister to me.