When Lifelong Friends Die

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The past three days have been tough. Incredibly, incredibly tough. Losing someone you love is no easy thing. In my book, I believe it’s the hardest facet of life you’ll ever have to face. And as inevitable as breathing.

I met my girlfriend Allison when I was twelve. I had recently moved to Woodmere (New York) and so had she. I guess both feeling like outcasts solidified that bond of mutuality that doesn’t come along often. And that it lasted a lifetime, wow, was a gift.

No two people were more different when it came to things we did, people we dated, clothes we wore. She was extremely smart school-wise, I was definitely not. She was on the conservative side, I believed the more outrageous, the better. She built a career, I didn’t. Like I said, two very different people. And yet, despite the intermittent years where we drifted apart, we never lost touch. We remained each other’s greatest allies. Because that’s what friends are. The Wind Beneath My Wings people who truly love you and want only the best for you. They make or break you. They are tenuous, they are fleeting, they are volatile, expanding and forever testing. They bring you up to a standard you might otherwise never dare to reach. They bring you soup when you’re sick. Don’t give a shit that you look a mess. They hold your hand in times of despair. They are there when your babies are born, when your parents die, when your husbands leave. They are there. Always, always there like a relentless storm or a magnificent rainbow reminding you that life is sometimes fucked up, sometimes cruel, but it is also equally beautiful. Despite the grief that shows up on your doorstep when they’re gone.

Yes, grief is something I know well. In fact, you could say we’re on a first-name basis. I guess it comes with the territory when you lose a sister who was everything to you, it creates a chasm you never fully get beyond, leaving you without an anchor. And this to me was unbearable. So I turned to the very small, very select group of women I’d known all my life and called them sisters … because it was the most natural thing in the world to do.

And now after fifty-two years to find myself minus one, is a feeling so gut-wrenching I want to scream. As a writer, I like to think of my words as my ammo, my link from point A to point B without ever having to move this butt from the chair. Yet, whatever I’m saying right now can’t touch the depth of my sadness over losing Allison or the unfathomable anger that there won’t be other days, other phone calls to commiserate over. What we had … is it. Yes, I know we shared some fantastic, wonderful moments and that all I need do is think of them, think of her with those big, funky glasses of hers, and I’m smiling. She deserves that celebration of life. All those incredibly special people do.

But you know, the truth is, I am so not there yet. Okay? Give me time.

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  1. Nadine Watts says

    Beautifully written. They say that with great love, comes great grief. The more you love, the greater the loss feels. Grief should never be minimized. There is no time clock on healing, and time does not heal all wounds. For now, take one day at a time and cherish the wonderful memories you made together. Allison may be gone physically, but you will always be connected spiritually. ❤️

    • says

      I love what you said. And I too believe with “great love comes great grief.” And “there is no time clock on healing.” So incredibly true. Thank you for your support and love. I will never forget it.

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