This weekend I have been thinking heavily of my friends-especially those who have passed away. I just can't get them off my mind and think of all the amazing things that they did with or for me sometime before they died. It just hurts-a lot. I have lost probably over 20 friends-I've lost count (over the past 10 years) and my beloved grandfather when I was younger.
It was triggered by going to the Friends of Kids with Cancer fashion show. Then, I ran into my friend, A's mom there. She asked how I was doing and was teary-eyed. I told her how I thought of A often and she said-I know, you were really special to him. A was a very close friend who died last August. He had a bone marrow transplant the same summer I did and had to take college off that fall. We both were in the fashion show as models and that is where we met. We hung out some that fall and then he went back to college in the spring and played soccer-how? I am not quite sure to this day!
We stayed close-talking often on the phone, seeing each other when he was in town, I tried visiting him at school once but the weather didn't allow for it. Anyways, he went on and was healthy-living life-graduated college, got some 'real jobs', even got married and had 2 kids. Meanwhile, I was fighting for my life and he was one of my main cheerleaders. He, along with my family, doctor, and a few friends were the ONLY people who I know truly saw hope for me. Some people took the news that I was going to die very soon and treated me as such. 'A' told me he knew I was going to make it and live and I believed him. He gave me some great advice on some guys from my past, was there for me when other friends died and always invited me to stuff he was doing-Relay for Life walks, parties his family had, going out with his friends or going to his sons' t-ball games. Truly just a huge heart.
The irony in this story is, of course, just as I was becoming a living miracle, 'A' (after 5 amazing years of remission) relapsed-badly. The tables had turned horribly. As he was getting worse, he encouraged me to come to one of his son's t-ball games, that he was coaching. I was so thankful that me and a friend made it out that day to see the game. Then we got to see his house for the first time and hang out with his family. It was incredibly special. It also happened to be that later that day Gabe proposed to me and we got engaged.
It was also the last day I saw A alive. Soon after he died and it still stings.
The pain of all my friends and family that have died is very strong some times. Other times it somehow goes into the background of life-but never very far. It only takes driving by my one friend's former high schools or seeing Pokeman figures to remind me of them. And I'll admit, there are many, many times when I am struggling with something-pain, stress, etc. and I ask God and them for help.
Today, I am grateful that the weekend was filled with friends, great food, laughter, noise, a wonderful fall break, love, family, hubs and God.