Today is my thirty-sixth birthday, I've been waiting all day for my best friend to call and remind me that I'm still older than her, and how ridiculous it is that we have been in each other's lives for more birthdays than we have not. I keep expecting the text message from her, affectionately calling me our pet name since high school: "Pookita," letting me know she'll call me when she gets out of work. Today is my thirty-sixth birthday, and my first birthday in twenty three years that I won't hear her voice, or read a text message from her. She is gone from this earth.
I think of her everyday, and feel the weight from the grief of losing her, in moments I least expect. There are moments when my body stops me in its tracks...tears well, the lump in my throat rises, my heart begins to pound, and I feel like the ground beneath my feet has dissolved. It feels like the sadness will never end...because my best friend is no longer here on this physical earth.
I spend a lot of energy fighting this sadness, in fear that I will fall apart and never regain my footing. And I also spend a lot of energy reminding myself that this kind of emotional pain is expected, and justified, and that the last thing my beautiful best friend would ever want to see from heaven is for me to throw away all the hard work I've done and let the sadness of losing her rule my life. It's the last thing I want too. I want to find the balance between the two...experiencing the heartache without being controlled by it. I want to be able to remember her with more smiles than tears. I know this is possible, and I know it will take time.
Tonight, on my thirty-sixth birthday, I have carved out this little pocket of time to honor the woman who will forever reside in my heart. The tears are falling as I think of twenty three years of birthday wishes, and my smile is beaming with genuine gratitude that I had her in my life for as many years as I did. She may be out of my sight, but she will forever be on my mind.