Aimlessly I drag myself around the grocery store, lost in a sea of tears.
A large gaping hole the size of the moon in place of my stomach, my heart pounding so hard I’m sure any minute its going to break out of my chest.
I think I might puke, save for the obscenities I am screaming to every stranger that walks by with a smile. Well, at least I am screaming in my head.
Grief like I have never experienced before. Grief that feels so deep, so dark I’m not sure I will come out of it.
I lost one of my best friends in the world this past week. An unexpected tragedy of epic proportions.
Her name was Tracy.
Tracy and I had our first babies across the hall from each other. Although our husbands met with a quick hello in the hallway, it wasn’t until 6 weeks later that we connected at a New Moms Group by the hospital. To hear Tracy tell the story when all the rest of the new moms walked in, she was intimidated. She thought we all had our shit together and were rocking motherhood while she thought she was a hot mess. How I tell it is that I walked in and saw one of the most genuine smiles I have ever witnessed in my life, a friendly in the war of surviving motherhood. A state where we were ALL a hot mess.
Every week we would meet. I coveted those days as a much needed check-in. After the mom’s group finished, we set up a weekly meet up at a park nearby. Tracy’s daughter and my son were the finicky ones which led to us having to stop halfway through our walks, feed or calm them having many a chat before catching up with the group.
It solidified our friendship.
We spent the next 9 years in the throes of motherhood together. Between managing birthday schedules (Each of our kid’s birthdays are one day apart), theatre adventures, BBQ’s, dinners and so much more, our friendship developed into one chock full of love and respect.
If you have read anything about Tracy, you know that she was a beautiful, giving person. But I sit here now and only wish she knew the kind of loving impact she made on so many people. How good she made them feel. How good of a friend she truly was.
Friendship is everything to me. These are people you choose to be part of your life. People who give you a gift in knowing them. Yet somehow along the way, you get busy. Social updates become your feeder, text your touch base. You compromise time in person because you are building a business, or travelling or family time is crucial given the limited space and time you have available between hockey games and soccer practice. Because you are tired and life feels too busy. Tracy’s gift was taking the time to show you how important you were to her and she was pushing for us to have some time together. In person. I can’t tell you how deeply my heart regrets that I let life get in the way and that we didn’t have more time for those real life moments.
THE GESTURE OF FRIENDSHIP
Signs are everywhere that Tracy is still close by. Finding a lost necklace from her, Bon Jovi on the radio, the woman behind us at Starbucks named Tracy. I feel like each moment is her sweet gesture of trying to let me know its OK.
I couldn’t be getting through this grief without the kindness and gestures of the friends I have. Simple check-ins, sending texts, sending love and hugs, trying to find ways to make me smile. My heart feels so heavy and they made me feel loved and cared for, like I have been covered in a big warm blanket of support. Tracy will be a constant reminder to take the time to tell these friends just how special they are.
A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
The night before Tracy’s funeral, we went to a gathering of her closest friends. We laughed, talked, hugged and cried our way through remembering and telling stories from different facets of her life. We all knew about each other because that was one of the most amazing things about Tracy. She was always so great at telling you how proud she was of her friends. At one point, we were surprised how easily and quickly we all got along. Of course we did. We all loved Tracy. And we were lucky enough that she had chosen each of us to be her friend.
I live in a circle of new friends. Together we ache in union for a soul sister. For someone who gave us each her heart and captured ours with her beauty and her sweetness.
For that I am forever grateful.
Love you T.