Ten years ago today, I said good-bye to my best friend. It was 12:30 a.m. I had spent the final hours of my 36 birthday at St. Luke’s hospital, in Milwaukee, WI. First in the ER, where I found Lori, heavily sedated, to make her more comfortable in her final hours, and then in a private room on the 12th floor. That’s the last place I saw her beautiful eyes, looked straight into them and told her I was grateful for her friendship and loved her.
I remember so many things about that day so clearly…I remember the weeping, no, wailing of my girls when we told them she had gone to heaven. I remember making phone calls, I remember specific conversations. I remember going to see Lori’s kids, and hugging them. And I remember thinking, “No one will ever love me like she did.”
Ten years, SO much has happened. SO MUCH. I finished college, I taught for 5 years, I live in another country! I have one daughter in MEDICAL SCHOOL! And one GETTING MARRIED! Some of this Lori knew would happen, some of it she didn’t. For all these years, she has always been so close to my heart; because, she taught me so much, she loved me so well, and she never gave up on me. And no matter how we fought (and we did!), we always remained true to each other. And you know what? Since she’s been in heaven, I have found that there are other people who love me like she did!
What does this mean? Did I replace her? No, I didn’t replace her, I can’t, not ever. But I made room. I could have shut down. I could have said, this hurts too much to have friends this close. I could have kept to myself. Because Love is costly. I could have thought, in the end, people die and it’s just not worth it. But, I would have missed out on SO much love.
So, I threw myself back into the thick of it. Now, I have many close friends. I have embraced friendships that are just as true and just as deep. Friends who hold my feet to the fire and tell me when I’m wrong. Friends who laugh with (and at) me. Friends who dare to keep up this friendship even though I’m 4,375 miles away from home… because Love is Costly, but it’s worth it.
If you have lost someone, embrace those who are around you. Invest in those who are still present. Love again. I know it feels like you can’t. I know your heart hurts so bad that sometimes you can’t breath. I know. Because Love is Costly. Invest again. Because it’s worth it.