Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Days gone by and the loss of a friend

Can you spot Kristin?  I am the third from the right.  A short brunette.  She's the tall blond.

I realize I haven't written much this year or at all since this summer.  The reason is two fold.  One is that I haven't been inspired with anything to share or anything funny to say.  The other is that I have been writing or trying to write a new children's book.  From what I understand it is a nearly impossible market to break into but I am not going to give up.  It will probably just take some years of working on it and figuring out who to know in that world.  Wish me luck. 

Several things have happened recently that have gotten me thinking.  How much time do we actually get here on Earth?  We all say "Oh each day is a gift, Life is short and you never know how much time you will get."  But secretly on the inside, don't we all think we'll get about 90 something years?  Do you really think your life might be cut short at say 41 like my childhood friend Kristin who died this Christmas morning after a year long painful bout of cancer.  The thing was, from what I know which admittedly isn't much we hadn't seen each other in at least 15 years, she was a really healthy, active person.  I have been following her Caring Bridge blog for the last year and the way she talked it was like she was taking it all in stride.  Not once did she mention how sorry she felt for herself or even that she was scared although I am sure she felt this way at some point.

Kristin and I, along with another friend Mike had planned to meet up last Christmas when the bad weather blew in and she had to change her travel plans.  I wish things had worked out because that was the last chance I had to see her.  You just never know when your time will be up.  It seems that death can bring people back together as well.  When my sister Becky died a few years ago, I heard from people who I hadn't talked to since high school and it was amazing.  It made me feel so good to know people still cared after all those years.

Time goes by so fast, especially since graduating from high school.  I remember exactly how I felt that day.  How much hope I had for the future, about to embark on a whole new chapter in life.  About to become an adult (in numbers maybe but it didn't actual hit my brain until I got my first teaching job and saw people looking at me like I was in fact a grown up and so I decided maybe I needed to act like one too.)  I remember all the faces of my friends too but until Facebook came around to the over 30 crowd a few years ago, I had no idea where most of them ended up or who they married, how many kids they had and so on.  I will say that is one of the best benefits of Facebook - being able to have some kind of connection with people you have lost touch with.

So here is my tribute to Kristin -

I remember the first day I met you and I know you remember too.  It was on the school bus, in the fourth grade.  I had recently moved from Atlanta and it was my first day at a public school.  I saw you and thought  "I want to be friends with that girl because she has curly hair."  You later told me you thought "I want to be friends with that girl because she has feathered hair"  Ha ha how shallow we both were and so we sat together at some point and thus a friendship was born based upon our hairstyles, how girl like.  After that year we spent time at each others house with in walking distance, my back yard had a creek for exploring and a pasture we could sneak into to pet the horses or sled in during our once a year snow days. You loved to brag about how you were really from Illinois and not Georgia so you knew more about the cold and the snow than I did. 

I remember that your favorite color was green and you loved cats but I hear you converted to dogs later on.  We dove into the world of middle school, Judy Blume and all the drama that ensued. We talked about boys, parents, siblings and teachers.  Cheerleading, high school, more boys and often getting into trouble with Becky and Kelly or other parties I won't mention.  I remember your first serious boyfriend.  Things started to change for all of us when those boys got in the picture didn't they?  Remember sitting through all the cold soccer games because of a couple of cute guys?  Cheerleading camp, college applications and eventually Auburn!  I am glad we converted you!  We had different experiences there and kind of lost touch but it was still comforting to have a friend from home nearby.  You called me years later and I told you I was engaged.  You promised to come to my wedding but then something must have come up because I didn't see you there and now I really regret that you couldn't make it because I never got to see you again.  When Facebook caught on you contacted me and I was happy to hear from you.  Our lives were very different but I always respected you for your independence and determination.  You seem to have become quite the hit in Huntsville and I am so very happy you had so many friends there and such a full happy life.  We will miss you Kristin,  did you notice I spelled your name right?  I also remember how mad it made you when people put an e in where the i goes :) I will pray for you and your family every Christmas and you will never be forgotten.  War Eagle friend.

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