To my friend, Carrie, on her birthday
It's been 143 days since I got official news that you were gone. 222 days for everyone else but you know how things go sometimes...
I had honestly expected your video chat on that January 8th to be a happy one. I thought of many happy surprises that you might want to share as the phone rang in my hand. Never could I have guessed what the reality was.
That 15 minute phone call was the last time I would ever see you or hear your darling voice or get to share personal one on one time with you on this Earth. Oh, that I could have hugged you like I did the summer before when I stopped by the festivities in celebrating your marriage to Adam! How I treasure that photo of us now; your beautiful smile lighting up the picture as was always your style. I know you felt my love and shared my tears, but I do wish I'd been able to hug you so you could feel how much I appreciated you sharing your journey with me.
You had a really loving community surrounding you in Virginia where you lived with Adam. So many young lives benefitted from that laugh, those intuitive eyes and those kind words of yours. How proud I am knowing someone like you, a brave woman who overcame heartache, never gave up and who always fought for those she loved. Adam is a lucky guy to be able to forever hold you in his soul as his wife. Your students are lucky to have been around your infectious energy. Your family is most blessed that they were around you your whole life, loving on you and enjoying life with you.
Today would have been your birthday here among us, but instead it is your birthday up in Heaven. You went home on February 4th suddenly and none of us could have known that your work here was done on that day. If only to have been selfish and kept you here longer somehow!
Yet it was not meant to be.
I thought of you all weekend when you left, I texted you that Monday to send love. No answer. I assumed you were busy with doctors, with fighting the cancer that was attacking you. I just kept praying and sending my love.
But you were gone.
You and I shared such fun times, such laughs, memories that only we would remember. (The pillar of truth, for one!) Mickey exists in the pages of a future story because of you! I hoped I made those years in the shop bearable for you. They will remain special to me.
I struggle, as I'm sure we all do, with no proper closure, with questions left unanswered, with dreams and plans with you now unfulfilled. But even though it is a bleak reality that our physical time with you here on Earth is done, my heart chooses to believe that your spirit can still interact, and we can still share energy on another level.
I think of you, dear friend, in the small moments so I can bring your beautiful energy into that moment to share with you. When the 3-year-old hugs me and says 'I love you'... or when the 9-year-old pulls me outside to share a lovely sunset... or when BC and I make each other laugh over tacos... all those little human moments... I invite your energy to enjoy it with me.
I think back to when you lost your father and how strong you were, though you were falling apart. In those days, love was the only thing that didn't die. And so, as I struggled to understand how I had completely missed news of your passing because I had been trying to honor you not wanting your story on Facebook, I felt my friendship love continuing on. You were not here, but you were not gone... only gone home.
I sat with the thought of what might have happened, though I have never been told. I tried to imagine, as writers are wont to do. I wrote this through a storm of tears, and I share it here now in the hopes that it might honor the beautiful spirit that you are. We will meet again, my friend, some sunny day.
I bet Daddy came to get you
on the day that you went home
And, oh, how I can see your face
light up when that went on!
I can hear your voice cry "Daddy!"
as you jumped out of your chair
I can see his arms wide open
his face full of tender care.
Your time apart was over
the lonely days and nights
"Daddy, you came back," you said
as you felt him squeeze you tight.
Then you realized your pain was gone
Remembered he was dead
pulled back in fear and looked at him
as he so gently said,
"It's not that I've come back to you
But you have come to me.
You've done all that was asked of you.
It's time to go, you see."
And as you looked around you
I can only contemplate
on your first full sight of home
Just inside of Heaven's Gate.
I bet you held your Daddy's hand
A little scared yet happy, too...
and missed us...and knew just how much
we would all miss you.
No, we didn't see it coming
on the day you had to go
But we know you're safe in Heaven
with the Daddy you love so.
I miss you, Carrie. I'll be talking to you and still sending love. Mickey and Marcus will get published, I promise. Love you, Mick. Happy Birthday,