She looked at me with a sudden intensity, a smiling wonder.
"Look at you! At how you look right now. You've gone through all this stuff and look how you are doing. You're a role model for women."
What? A role model? Really? I'm honoured she would think so and more than a little intimidated. It is a lot to live up to.
A friend of mine has had a really rough year. Her life fell apart a bit in 2008 and she's been struggling to pick up the pieces and create something new with them. We had a long chat the other day. We both wish it could have been longer.
We hadn't spoken in some time, though a few messages on Face.book have gone back and forth. So much had happened in our lives this past year and circumstances found us unable to share it with each other. It wasn't anyone's fault, it just sometimes happens in friendships. Life (and shit) happens and you drift a bit.
But she's an important part of my life, and I hated to lose her. After a long time with no contact I wrote a message to her and waited. After a couple of months of nothing, I was almost ready to give up when I was checking my messages and I saw her name. My heart raced. What would she say? What was going on? Is she okay?
She explained how difficult things had been. That she was sorry for letting our friendship fizzle. She said she would understand if I had moved on.
Is she kidding! I was SO excited to see her message, to find her reaching out, that I too reached out and held on hard. I wrote an incredibly long letter telling her there was nothing to forgive and explaining what had been happening with us and our lost babies.
We agreed to meet up for coffee at a central place for both of us. Even though we were both running a tad behind, I arrived first. I was nervous and excited at the same time. Would we pick up where we left off? Would it be awkward? I didn't think so, but there was this tiny thread of doubt.
A few minutes later, she arrives. We throw ourselves at each other in the biggest embrace we could muster. We clung to each other with the reckless abandon appropriate of dear friends meeting after a long separation. I broke first but as I did, I felt her wanting to hold on. As I stepped back and asked her what she wanted to drink (my treat as her b-day had been two days prior) I realized she was crying. She had broken out into one of those incredible happy regretful sobs. She sat down. I leaned over her and held her telling her it was alright. After a couple of minutes, she gathered herself. She thanked me for not giving up on her (how could I? I rarely give up).
We talked for ages. Then we wandered. We shared our stories as if we had never told them to anyone before. I was so thrilled to tell her about our baby-to-be and all our hopes and fears. She was so very happy for R and I. Just thinking of that morning makes me teary in the best way possible.
No matter what life throws you, always take the opportunities that fall upon you. This is what I believe allows me to aim for that goal of being an old woman with no regrets. And friendships are always worth saving if there is reciprocity.
Oh, if I could have but bottled that hug of ours...