A Letter to a Friend
Dear Lori –
It’s been almost 14 years since you left us now, and I can hardly believe it’s been that long. You would have been 39 today. Good god, we’re old! Little things have come up as this day approached, making it pretty clear that it was time to get over the emotions writing this letter creates, and get it out there.
Days and days and days will go by and I’ll not think about the hurt that losing you caused. Then things come back and bring the sadness I still have for everything we didn’t get to do in your short time. Every time I see a Facebook post about the Golden Girls a little part of me remembers that we won’t get that. It was supposed to be the 3 of us, and old age is never going to be the same with just Blanche and Dorothy. And, by the way, you would have loved Facebook, Lor! Anonymous stalking from the comfort of your own home, no gas money required!
It amazes me sometimes how much it still hurts. I will think that it’s gotten easier, that the hole in my life is a little bit smaller. Then a few weeks ago, going through boxes, I found an almost-empty journal and I’m reminded all over again how wrong I am to think that. I hadn’t even remembered the journal until I opened the first page and saw my crazy handwriting and a Valentine’s Day note to you, hoping you would find things to fill the journal with, dated 1999. The rest of the pages remained blank. Two years later I brought that journal home after we’d all sat in your room trying to comprehend the fact that, as of that day, you were gone. That little spiral notebook, with the 1990’s black and white photo of a little boy presenting a rose to a little girl, had me in tears in seconds. That’s when I realized that it isn’t any easier at all. I’ve just gotten better at moving the hurt to the side on most days.
The hardest part is that, in a way I can’t explain, I knew I was going to lose you. It happened after we’d spent a day together spending money neither of us really had. We were shopping for dress clothes, so there had to have been new jobs involved. I can’t place it correctly in our time line though. I know it was before your surgery, maybe before the seizure episode? Maybe you were just starting at the library? I know for sure I had Alexandre. It ended up being a hard day with tears.
You were carrying the weight of your world on your shoulders and we talked about getting out, renting an apartment together. You were going to help me with Alexandre, and we were going to make it work on our own. We both knew we couldn’t really do it but it cheered us up a bit to dream. Through that day together I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to do these girl’s days with you for very long. When I got home I told my mom we’d lose you before we were 30. I don’t know what made me say it but I hate that I was right. And I hate that I didn’t try to cram more of those days in than what we got.
It wasn’t enough, but we did get to cram some good days in. I can’t drive past the collection of orange flags at the crosswalks downtown without thinking of the night you convinced people you were their crossing guard after our dinner at the Olive Garden. I stood on the sidewalk, stone-faced as I could, while you ushered people back and forth, gushing with over-the-top Lori Charm. I think you made three trips. And of course, our night at the bar, your first night at a bar, will be with me forever. We laughed so hard on the way home I thought I was going to pee after you screamed “I think I have a hicky!”. It would have made a perfect entry in that journal.
I can’t dwell on all that we missed together, or all that you missed out on for your own. I would drown in it if I did. But on days like today I can be a little sad. Sad that you didn’t get to find The One, or meet My One. Sad that you didn’t get to be a mom. Sad that you didn’t get to find yourself in our 20’s, or share more stories of the crazy lady at the library. “Bring me a block of cheese!” And sad that you’re not here to go out with tonight to lament the end of our 30’s, maybe over a cotton candy martini and some cheese sticks. And for all of those reasons, tonight I will be sad.
I love you Pingon, and I miss you every day.
Your Little Mouse Friend