This month I am putting off the Word of the Month until Sunday. Because February 1st is a day that is etched in my heart. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I can’t believe it’s only been a year. February 1st, 2017, is the day my best friend left this world. She left her children, her grandchild, her pets, her new love, her aged parents, her family spread all over, and her friends.

Anticipating how this day will feel has sent little tiny things in motion because thoughts have power. A few annoyances here, a lost chance there, then I think about Becky. A feeling of impending doom fills my heart, a feeling I hadn’t experienced for many years before her death.

Memorial alter

You’d think this was the first time a friend of mine had died, but it’s not even the first time a friend died unexpectedly. My self-appointed blog editor, Millie G., had seemed her normal self when she came to stay overnight. Then we heard from her son that she had been rushed to the hospital and died.

My friend Fred who bestowed my Amazon DYH parrot on me died not even a year after Maynard became my best bird. He’d had a long illness and a battle to stay in his own home with his companion and his other birds.

Becky was different than most of my other friends. She was younger, she had been through a life I would never have imagined, and she opened her heart to me as if we had been friends for years. I admired her so much. She had been addicted to drugs and turned herself around. She claims I was her motivation and role model for losing weight and eating healthier, but she kept me going. Without the offer of swimming three times a week with her, I would have not kept up my good work.

ashes to ashes

I remember her laugh. I remember her smiles. I know how much she loved her family. She never was one to fuss over babies, but her grandson took hold of her heart from the moment he was born. She had a plan for her life and expected to be the caretaker for her mother after her father passed away. They would talk about how they would arrange the furniture and such, causing him to complain that they couldn’t wait until he was gone.

When someone passes, there are so many holes left behind. So many roads that will not be walked down now. My beloved goddaughter, Becky’s daughter, has stepped up to be an amazing woman with the same inner fire her mother had. And a determination to be there for her family.

becky me ella

Only a week before she died, Becky, her daughter, her son, and I went to a local casino and hotel to play on the lazy river attraction there. We had a beautiful rainy day to float around on giant inflated tubes and wash under waterfalls. We laughed and planned and remembered and shivered when we finally left the water to find dry clothes.

Becky, I promised I would go back and do that again. But I thought you would be with me. Instead, the memories of our day will come along. A moment of contemplation as your daughter and I float under the waterfalls which you loved. A moment longer to know the pain never stops. We learn to live with it. And a drink in your honor will let us remember with warmth and joy in years to come.

Thank you for reading this. I’ll be back on Sunday.

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