I had started a blog of the day to day excitement of our cross country trip (such as it was)...but I never finished it. My friend Pattie died on 7-7-07, and I had one of those life- shifting moments. Who gives a shit about the day-to-day driving and sites? Pattie died!! The life shifting moment continues...I wish I had taken more pictures of her, or could find the ones I have. I miss her...she was *always* there for me, and I tried to be there for her. Over 300 people came to her memorial service. Damn, 300!! I don't even know if I KNOW 300 people. The place was standing room only. Another friend, Sharon, who has also been a friend since high school, wrote a wonderful eulogy "you were lucky to know Pattie" and highlighted all the ways we were lucky to know her. She did great, it was affirming, and made us all laugh and cry. All 300 of us.
To highlight the kind of person she was- I met a woman who came to the memorial service that had never met Pattie. She came because Pattie had called her about a patient they had both seen. (Pattie was a wound care nurse) Pattie never even talked with her in person, but left her a message. The message was simple "you did a great job with this patient and I want you to know that I appreciate it". This woman had saved the message, it made her feel so good about herself. She came to meet the family of such a woman, and I am sure was just as overwhelmed by the numbers as the rest of us were. Pattie was special. I considered her as one of my sisters. She shared just about every important moment of my life, good and bad, since I was 17.
She was at the hospital when I gave birth to my first son (her godchild- one of many of her godchildren). We shared a house at the time, the everyday moments. She supported and encouraged me through 3 marriages, taking part in both the celebrations of happy moments and being there for me when the relationships crashed. She even gave me relationship advice, "Don't fall in love" and would grin as I laughed. Her marriage to Mike has been an inspiration to me. They had a mutual respect for each other and a delight in each other's company that I have always measured my own relationships against. I want that, I want a marriage like that. Always have.
Pattie and Noah approximately 1979
Pattie and me, 2001
So, you lose someone close and move on. You take a part of that person with you. Remembering the good and the bad. Pattie had her moments, good and bad. But that is what friendship is...you don't always love every moment. She could get on my last nerve, and I hers. But we could laugh about it later. I can laugh at it now, surprisingly. But then I feel the wave of loss, the loss of someone who really knows me, and loves me anyway. The loss of someone I could trust. A foundation in my life. I wasn't ready.