Today is a sad day for me. It’s the anniversary of a day that brought so much joy, love, laughter and happiness into my life. You see, a year ago I had a visit from across the pond with some dear friends. They had flown to the US to visit with some family and friends and were making a stop here.
I had not seen either of them for over thirty-five years.
My friend Stacey and her mum were among the first people I had met as a baby. I was just a few months older than Stacey but I remembered her always as my best friend from childhood. She was pretty much the only happy memory I had as a child.
And then they moved to England.
I know it was so long ago but I remember crying for my friend for years.
We wrote an occasional letter and our mothers exchanged holiday cards and a photo from time to time, but this was decades before people carried little computers in their pockets and staying in touch required a lot of effort.
Phone calls were extremely expensive and even letters just grew to be too much.
We eventually lost contact.
About a year and a half ago, something stirred my memory and I began telling my husband about my best childhood friend.
Then I had an idea.
I mean, it’s only been a few dozen years. Why not try? So I put her name into the search box and crossed my fingers. How many people were going to pop up? I mean, Facebook is used all over the world, right? There were bound to be several people with the same name as well as the very likely possibility that she wasn’t on Facebook at all or she had changed her name. It was sort of a long shot.
I recognized Stacey’s face instantly when I saw her profile photo. I remembered her eyes that hadn’t changed in all of the years we were apart. I just knew it was her.
The questions and the anxiety started to flutter around.
Will she remember me?
Will she think I was some weirdo?
Will she even want to reply to me?
Eh. If she didn’t want to be bothered, it was ok. People are busy. We were just kids. What was a great friendship in my mind may have barely registered on her radar. Time changes a lot of things.
What if she not only remembered me but we renewed our friendship? So…
I wrote her a message and clicked “send”.
We had dozens of email exchanges and it was as if we had been friends all along. Across many years and hundreds of miles, it was as if nothing had changed. You know, other than we grew up, I had a few kids, and we lived an ocean apart. You know, THAT.
One Year Ago…
We arranged to meet for lunch at a diner that is in my neighborhood at Sandy’s (mum) suggestion. That diner had been around since we were kids!
I arrived shortly before they did. I sat at a booth facing the door eagerly awaiting their arrival. I saw them from the window and resisted the urge to perform a running tackle from where I was. We had lunch and then continued dessert as a wonderful bakery nearby. We chatted for as long as we could. I reluctantly had to leave to get my kids from school. Then I had an idea- why not invite them for dinner? I did and after wandering the old neighborhood for a bit, they arrived at my house.
Having Stacey and Sandy in my life again was like finding a piece of my heart that I hadn’t even known was missing. We talked for hours. And hours. Sandy had known my dad since before he became sick with colon cancer. She told me things about my parents that I never knew. She validated beliefs I had held regarding my mother and assured me it wasn’t my imagination. She told me how much my dad loved me.
What Sandy gave me in those few hours were the gifts of a lifetime.
She gave me closure.
She gave me peace.
But even more, she gave me laughter. Both she and Stacy were SO hilarious together. They were both patient and kind with my children and my kids absolutely adored them as did my husband.
I really hated to see the evening end but it had to. They had to be getting back to the city and I had to get the kids to bed.
I wanted to drive them to their hotel but Sandy wouldn’t allow me to. I drove them to the train and we exchanged hugs and promises to keep in touch. Promises, I’m happy to say we have kept.
It pains me to no end that shortly after that visit, Sandy was diagnosed with cancer and dis not live much longer.
The world lost a beautiful, funny lady who once planked a desktop on a dare from her daughter. Her only child lost her incredible, loving mother. I lost someone who was so much more to me than just a friend. Her warmth and genuine ‘joie de vivre’ were an inspiration to me and my family.
Stacey and I stay in constant contact through Facebook and are planning a future visit. I hope to fly across the pond to visit her when my kids get a bit older.
I think of Sandy a lot and miss her terribly. I hope she knows how very special she was in my life. I like to think she does.
The diner we had lunch at that wonderful day has since closed its doors for good. It had been open for nearly forty years.
I know this much- it had never seen a happier reunion in all of its operating years than it did on that wonderful day.
It could never be topped.
Perhaps it felt it had done it’s job and was time to go.
It makes perfect sense to me.