Yesterday I officially said good-bye to a dear friend of mine. I've known Lori since fourth grade. Outside of my family, she's the person I've known the longest in this world. Several years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it, and won. Or so we thought.
About two years ago she was diagnosed with Stage Four Metastatic. In the two years since, she's lived a wonderful and full life, even through the pain of her disease and the treatments associated with it. She was able to accomplish many of the things she'd put on her wish list to do before her time came. The most recent being a trip to Hawaii with her wonderful husband.
Back in November, I was fortunate to get the chance to see Lori. She'd moved away to New York many, many years ago, but we'd stayed in touch through Christmas cards, e-mail, and in recent years her Caring Bridge site. As I hugged her good-bye, I couldn't help but wonder if it would be the last time I'd see her.
Unfortunately, those thoughts proved true. Lori passed away in February, shortly after returning from her dream vacation in Hawaii.
Yesterday was her memorial service. It was amazing and difficult and wonderful and heart-wrenching all in one. The church was literally filled to capacity, with people standing in the doorways, half in and half out of the church. As people spoke of her and how she'd touched their lives, my husband turned to me and said, "I wish I could have known her." (They'd met only once years ago.) "But, being here today, I feel like I did know her. She seems like an amazing person."
How fitting. A wonderful, brave, passionate friend, who had touched so many lives in life, continues to touch them even in death.
And I credit Lori with the reason my wonderful husband and I are together today. On a trip to visit her down in college in Texas, I fell in love with country music. This led me to frequent a local country bar up here, where I met the man of my dreams. I'm amazing how so many lives can be connected in ways we never imagine.
Good-bye my friend, I miss you.
Until next time,