My best friend Heidi and I shared a special friendship, where over time we evolved into family. Our friendship began in sixth grade home room with bad perms and big glasses. By the time Heidi passed away, we had celebrated over 25 years of birthdays, a joint bachelorette party, countless housewarming and holiday parties, weddings, children’s births, and the list goes on and on. Not only did we celebrate these together, we also helped each other plan and execute all of them. Heidi was famous for showing up early with lots of snackies and staying late to clean up. Heidi and her husband helped break down tables at my wedding, she came over the morning of my first housewarming party and helped me plant flowers and prepare food, and she waited hours on end for my children to be born. She would always show up and tell me “I got this, go get ready.” I don’t think I can count how many times she rescued me over the years. I did my best to help her, but she didn’t take “help” as well. She was the roll up your sleeves helper but when the time came for her to need help it was sometimes difficult for her to accept. It was just the way she was.
I had planned my 4th daughter Blossom’s baptism for mid-March, during a time when Heidi was well, when I texted her about the date she commented back “I am there, what can I bring?” Heidi became ill, went into hospice, and then passed away on March 10th. Blossoms baptism was planned days later. I pondered the idea of canceling and postponing the baptism, but in light of the way my friend lived I knew she would tell me to “keep on partying.” Because of this and the idea that everyone could use a happy day with Baby B we decided to leave the baptism and party as planned. Heidi’s calling hours and funeral were on Wednesday and Thursday and Blossoms baptism would be the following Sunday. Keeping busy and working on planning helped me to survive that difficult time so I looked at the baptism and party as a welcomed distraction. Because of my crazy schedule the Friday after her services I did not have my 3 older daughters just the baby so that I could clean and rest and prepare for the party. I remember leaving Peninsula with Blossom in a haze. I planned to stop at Kohl’s to get something to wear to the baptism and then head home. I did just that. I remember feeling like I was still in a bit of a fog as I drove home but somehow I got there.
I remember driving up to the house and realizing there were people working on it. I can still picture my husband meeting me at the car and saying: “You’re not going to believe this the people who are doing our fireplace had a cancellation so our wood stove that we ordered can be installed today! And get this you know that guy we hired to fix the siding he wasn’t supposed to be able to come for a few weeks but he showed up today too!” I stood there listening, suddenly it dawned on me Heidi wasn’t going to be here physically for this party. At first I was struck with sadness, but then the feeling of peace washed over me when I felt as though somehow she was helping me even still. Somehow both of the jobs we had hoped to finish before the party would be finished! We had been out-of-town the days prior so it was just the perfect time for them to come. The kids were gone and we were home. I remember back then as fresh as Heidi’s death was I was still able to see that our relationship could continue in a different form. I truly believe our souls are connected. I sometimes feel her in the lovely sky or as I look over the sparkly water. In that moment I felt her help in finishing jobs I hadn’t even remembered I wanted done.
Since Heidi’s passing, I sometimes have images of her doing simple things that bring me such joy. The other day I was pouring myself a glass of red wine (her favorite) and suddenly I could see her opening her wine cabinet and pulling out glasses. She would throw her head back with laughter and say “it’s wine time.” Now these glimpses of our past and feelings of comfort from beyond are not the same as her physically being here. I still struggle with the idea that she’s gone from this physical earth, forever. If I’m lucky I may live for another 50 or 60 years. It will be without her here. It still doesn’t seem possible most days. However, I am learning to accept this and this new form of her love from across the universe. I take comfort in the idea that even death can’t stop our friendship, or our bond. Allowing our relationship to continue in a different form is what allows for me to continue living with an open, hopeful heart, full of happiness and sadness. My friends and I just laughed the other day remembering Heidi. We agreed she was a peach, one-in-a-million, and if anyone can defy death and continue her relationships in a different form it’s our girl!
Until next time…..
This post was originally shared on my personal blog on 1/23/18 https://storiesfromasoulsister.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/death-ends-a-life-not-a-relationship/