Smiles, expressions, funny quips…all things delivered in a heartbeat or less. Yet, they may be remembered for eternity. Within the last several years, two women who reside in my memory departed this life through their own decisions.
I became acquainted with one of them in high school. She was funny, quirky, smart, and accomplished. She sang beautifully and participated on the tennis team. Her opponents were often flummoxed by her innate ability to switch hands while playing. It was unnerving to witness but it worked very well for her game. I only knew her in high school though our paths crossed in adulthood due to both of us living in our hometown. Little more than pleasantries passed between us.
We had taken different paths and didn’t seem to have much in common any longer. And we were both wrapped up in our own busy lives. Could I have been more willing to connect? Probably. I was content remembering the fun we’d had. Crazy sleepovers involving M&M’s fights, riding around in her mother’s green Duster, and flashing “the Fang.”
My other friend was a friend from adulthood though we attended the same high school two years apart. We didn’t run in the same social circles as teens but becoming an adult erases much of that. Thank goodness. We had loads of fun, loads of laughs, loads of memories. Just as with my high school friend, many of my memories include cookies, beer, and laughter. And smiles, so many smiles.
Each relationship harbors its own bunch of memorable quotes and vocabulary. Whenever something comes to mind I never cease to smile or laugh. I’m so thankful to have that part of them with me always.
Both of these women dealt with depression and mental health challenges. Both were caretakers for their mothers. Both were dearly loved by friends and family.
As someone who has dealt with depression daily for forty years, I know how they felt some of the time. I’ve also known that dark place where you don’t feel you can go on. I will never act on that thought yet I know how easy it could be. And I felt anger toward both of these gals that they took that step and left us behind. My calmer mind understands and is not angry except for the fact that they weren’t able to stay with us. I believe they are at peace, laughing among the angels, no longer depressed or anxious.
Betsy and Tracy, you enriched my life immeasurably in such different ways. It was an honor to be counted as a friend to each of you. So glad you stopped by to be part of my life.
Fly with the angels, my friends.
For those of us left behind. We need to grieve. There will be a time when I will smile always when I think of these two. Some words I find comforting come from The Band Perry’s If I Die Young:
“The ballad of a dove
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket
Save ’em for a time when you’re really gonna need ’em…”