Saturday With A Friend

The alarm went off before 6am and as it did I said out loud, to no-one in particular, "It's a good thing it's Alice because today I would be canceling on anyone but her." Honest. That's what I said to the darkness. And I meant it. I was so weary, but I jumped up, wanting and needing to be with Alice.

It has been just a few weeks since Alice emailed that she had received the dreaded news that her mom had cancer so as I drove to meet her {we were meeting at a children's clothing sale whose doors opened at 7:30am} I cried and prayed and cried some more. I knew that the instant I saw her I would want to burst into tears, but I knew that wasn't what she needed. There would be plenty of time throughout the day to talk about the dark rain cloud over her head. And to cry. So I asked God to hold back the initial tears to a time when we could really sit and converse. And He did just that.

Our day began with a little Bryan Adams, with each of us separately, and unbeknownst to the other, singing "Summer of 69" {which happens to be our summer - we both turn 40 in June} at the top of our lungs. Thank goodness for 80s music.

The sale was huge and fantastic. Highly recommend it. A measure of madness to be certain, but since we were without kids we kept saying, "It doesn't matter. We're in no hurry. Ankle biters are nowhere to be found. We just have our basket of bargains. WHOOOO HOOOOOO."
The sale.
Mounds of clothing.
Masses of women on the hunt for the perfect bargains.
No children in sight.
Did I mention that?

We visited Geneva, Illinois, welcoming in Spring by a bit of shopping, a bit of walking and a whole lot of talking.

Very first flowers this year.

A little bit of dessert.

So I mentioned earlier that I didn't burst into tears when I first saw Alice. Well, this is where the tears flowed freely. You know, the kind where you cover your face with your hands and try to control the sobs so that others on the patio don't think you're a freak.

The reality she currently finds herself in - that reality where no-one EVER wants to go - is a reality that I hate. It seems that more and more people I know are significantly impacted by this cancer disease.

I hate that her mother is in excruciating pain. I absolutely hate that. It doesn't seem right. It's impossible to understand. I ask, "Why, Lord? Why?"

I hate that Alice, whose best friend is her mother, has to be brave and strong, when quite frankly, she doesn't want to be. It's simply not supposed to be like this.

Ever since I can remember, Alice and I have said that we're the sisters that neither of us had. And we are. We get each other. We understand the special, unique friendship we each share with our mothers. And while the majority of my girlfriends have close friendships with their mothers, Alice is probably the one that is as close to her mom as I am to mine.

So a portion of this valley Alice finds herself in pushes me to think about the reality that some day {hopefully a long, long LONG time from now} I might have to walk through the same valley with my mother. And I can't handle even thinking that thought. And I hate that I even go there, but the reality is, I have. And then, a little while later I begin to think of the fact that Jack's mom passed away almost 6 years ago. And that was just so, so premature. It makes me so sad to think of all that she's missed. She didn't even get to meet Jackson. That's not right. And then I find that I can't go there.

Over the years I've discovered {about myself} that when my close friends are hurting, I hurt right alongside of them. I just do. So I've found that I've been stuck in this cloud of sadness that has settled in on my little heart and I'm not sure it will go away anytime soon. But that's okay. Because if Alice has to walk this road, then I'm right there beside her. The whole way. Whatever that journey looks like. Because to me, that's what friendship is.

I'll close this post with a verse that continues to touch my heart and the reality is, it is true.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18


Cleary said…
Crying with you...
Alice said…
I couldn't go through it without you, dear friend. To think God knew of this moment not only back in 1987 but before the foundation of the world. Love you so.
amywb said…
So sad to hear about Alice's mom. She is blessed to have you for a friend, I think. And to think you were in Geneva - right in my backyard! Next time, if for nothing more than a quick hug, I want to know. :) (Arboretum anyone?)

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