Today would be the 34th birthday of my best friend in the multiverse, Kittie. It's been over 3 years, and it still hurts like it was yesterday. I keep wondering why I still miss her so much.
All I can figure is that ther is simply no one who has been or could be as close to me as she was. I have some moderately close friends, but none quite like she was. She was with me during my entire labor for my first child. She was so honest about our friendship that she actually withdrew from me during part of that pregnancy because she knew that she was angry about it and didn't want to bring me down with negative comments. When she finally came to terms with it, our friendship resumed.
I was there for her when she found out her husband didn't love her anymore. I'm still convinced the only reason I ended up back in Des Moines that summer was for this event. She was there for me when I came to my senses and ended my relationship with my older kids' father. And she didn't even say "I told you so." Not once.
Perhaps it still hurts because part of me thinks that I should have been there with her to do more for her when she got sick. I was ready to bring her here, where she could have had better treatment, better care. But the kids... couldn't have her up here with the kids around. Little kids and Leukemia just don't mix. She had NO immunity to anything... I didn't want her to get sick from my kids. But she got sick anyways, even though the cancer was almost gone. All I could do was make sure she had internet access. I'm sure it helped her, made her feel better to be able to get in touch with the rest of the world. I remember the phone conversations when the headaches were too bad for her to look at the screen. The vain attempts to get someone to replace her laptop display. The day she had her head shaved. Before that, I remember the day she caught me online... and told me to call her, because she had something important to say that she couldn't tell me online... and her informing me of the original diagnosis. She reached out for me then, because she knew I wouldn't treat her any differently, even though she was sick. I still gave her crap about everything, still acted like there was nothing wrong. The same way, when we were walking down the halls while I was in labor, she would just stop talking while I had a contraction and let me get through it, then start up again when it was done, as if nothing had happened. That's what we were to each other - anchors who could be trusted to not flip out over things. Who knew that as long as the other was there, we could get through whatever was thrown at us. We kept each other honest with ourselves, if that makes sense. Regardless of what we told anyone else, we made sure that at least we acknowledged the truth of our own feelings. And we respected each others mistakes and allowed each other to make them.
Maybe that's why it still hurts... Up to that point, all the pain and suffering I had, all the different losses... she was there to keep me grounded through them. But in her passing, I lost that anchor. So now I'm adrift. I don't know that I'll ever find that kind of anchor again (and don't go talking about my husband or anything either, because it's SO not the same). Hopefully I'll find something similar, someday. The friendship that lasts beyond the distance and years. I do have online friendships that are close, but for that anchor it needs to be one that is cemented with trips to the mall, nights at the movies, and time spent hanging out together and just being together.
So here's to you, Kellie. I know you didn't drink, but I'll raise a glass of wine to you anyways. Happy birthday.