Life Takes you Off-Roading

Yesterday I got the sad news (via facebook...it's a blessing and a curse) that a high-school friend had passed.  Truly, so many of my old friends have died since we all parted ways, I might start to think I was in my 50's or 60's, but here I am, 31 and have said goodbye to more than 10.  That's too many too short lives.  Several of the friends have been people I knew well at one time or another, but this friend was different. 

I mentioned Shana in a post a couple months ago, and at the time I had a strong urge to contact her (via facebook...it's a blessing and a curse  haha) and tell her 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry' for all we went through together when we were kids.  But I was embarrassed.  So I didn't.  People tell you to make sure you let people know what they mean to you because you never know what tomorrow brings.  Cliche' right?  I'm guessing because it happens too frequently that a person doesn't get to express their feelings before death comes knocking.

And so she never knew how much I appreciated her friendship, because in the 3 years we were close, though she was a near-permanent fixture in our apartment, I kinda took her for granted. Shana was always there.  Looking back, I don't really remember how we met or how we eventually drifted apart.  We don't have very many friends in common, because she didn't like my friends or my boyfriend.  When we were together it was usually just the 2 of us.  But we were together a lot.

Shana was around when I was going through the very thick of my flash-backs from the sexual abuse.  She saw parts of me I would never want anyone to see, and yet she still came over every day.  She's the only friend I don't remember getting really freaked out at me.  She'd sit calmly through the flash back (and chaos) and then we'd cook something or walk somewhere or listen to music as if it never happened. 

Shana was always down for silliness, and honest as they came.  Other people remember her as quiet, but that's not my memory of her.  She loved pranks and when we were friends she was obsessed with the phone.  Together we managed to get coupons from every company that ever made anything in her house-in the most hilarious way.  Once, the skin cream in her mom's shower made us grow wicked facial hair so that our husband left us for another woman.  She is the only person I knew who could possibly keep a straight face through that kind of conversation with a random stranger. 

I wanted to look through old pictures for some to post, but they are buried in our storage unit in Kansas.  I can see her plain as day in my mind, though, particularly in the puffy winter coat that always smelled like Burger King. 

Shana leaves behind a fiance' I didn't have the pleasure of meeting and a precious little girl who's only 18months old.  Too young to lose a momma.  Life is completely unfair sometimes.  I can't help but look at my babies and wonder if something happened to me tomorrow-what would people tell them about me as they were growing up...would people make me into a saint I never was, as people are wont to do when someone dies?  Would friends from high school come forward and write blog posts about me?  Would someone be completely honest and tell them that their momma struggled with depression and loved people with all of her-but struggled with showing it?  I'm so sorry I didn't write to her when I felt compelled to.

I don't know.  And I don't know what Charlie will hear.  Judging on what I've seen said on her facebook page, Charlie will know her mom was loved, honest and fun.  She will probably never see this blog post.  She will never know about the time I provocatively sang "Layla" by Eric Clapton replacing "Layla" with "Shana" to her young mom to skeeve her out. (successfully, only egging me on further!)

I have to leave the house now, and I feel like this isn't finished.  But I have to get it out there.  My life really is better for having had Shana in it.  She was a support that was so real and fundamental I didn't even see how important it was until much later.  Friends like that are hard to come by.  Rest in Peace, my friend.  I'll keep your family in my prayers and your memory in my heart.


Anonymous said...

You, Tara, are 'like' this kind of friend for me. Always there, always listening, always loving - unconditionally. My 'friends' over the years always come and GO, but I feel like I'll always have you. Yesterday I wrote half a page in my Bible journal thanking God for your and your friendship to me. Kinda ironic on a day you lost such a good friend.

It's been a blessing and curse (ha) having a friend for the first time in my life show me unconditional love. The blessing is that I finally see it DOES exist (and I thank you). The curse is that other 'friends' (ha) continuing to treat me with 'conditional' love. They like me as long as I'm good, and nice and give them all of me and expect nothing from them...

But I have that one memory - of a day I was unlovably even probably by God - which you still loved me... and I'll love you forever for that.

You are a great friend. One I miss desperately and that I am so thankful for.

You are such a blessing to me and so many others, Tara. Thank you for being you and for loving me... u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y

You're the best! R

Mary said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and the lost opportunity; thank you for this reminder though...it is much needed. Praise God for the rare people who will let us show our brokeness and still come back the next day for more. Love you my friend.