Sometimes I really just don't know where to begin, and I sit here with my fingers on the keyboard and just let it go...this is one of those times. I need to do this, but I'm at a loss for words, at least, for words that will be adequate...because there aren't any.
My family and I lost a dear, dear friend yesterday. And this is where the words fail me, because "friend" isn't good enough to describe the beautiful soul that Bev is. She has been so much more to us, especially over the last few years, that "friend" just seems to trivialize it. In spite of her own worries, her own grief, her own family, she was a rock for us, especially for my sister and me. She was the one who had the strength and the presence of mind, and the good Catholic faith to be able to recite the Rosary over and over as Edna slipped away from us. How she even uttered words, I'll never know.
She was the one who promised to be there for us where and when Edna couldn't...and who kept that promise. She was the one who would send randomly-timed text messages saying, "I love you so, so much!!!" just because she wanted us to know. She's the one I cry for now, as I sit here struggling to see the screen through my tears.
Bev was Edna's best friend. She and her husband were married the same year as Dad and Edna. They taught at the same school together for their entire teaching careers. They had children at the same time, and both loved books, teaching, and wine. But most of all, they loved their families, and everything, EVERYTHING centered around that love. I'd rather call them sisters, because that's closer to the description of their relationship...and in return, that makes us family.
We were in the car, packed and ready to leave for the lake, when I heard the news yesterday. Edna's van, that is, that we were borrowing for the trip. And for some reason, I just could not make myself get out of the car, as if sitting there in the passenger seat made it any better. And as I went digging in the glove compartment for a drive-thru napkin or travel pack of tissues to wipe my tears, I found a book of Edna's instead. I don't think those are accidents.
See, there's a very strong, reassuring thought that I have. Yes, She of No Belief in the Afterlife, She of Little Faith, She of More Questions than Answers! In spite of all that, I feel...no, I KNOW that Bev and Edna are together somewhere, hopefully drinking wine and cackling as they used to...and watching the cycle continue as their children start their married lives and have kids of their own, building on that friendship that started so many years ago. And that makes me smile, in spite of the tears.
When I texted her yesterday morning to tell her that I loved her...her last words to me were, "Back atcha, tootsie wootsie!!!" I'll cherish those words forever. If there's a lesson here, and there doesn't necessarily need to be, it's to say those words when you feel them, to make sure those you cherish know.