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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.

This..Is… Grief.

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.

 

Our Mom's Group story in Today's Parent
Our Mom’s Group story in Today’s Parent

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 best friendship I ever witnessed was how she felt about Sean
The best friendship I ever witnessed was how she felt about Sean

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.

When our worlds collided and Tracy became a wonderful part of BlissDom
When our worlds collided and Tracy became a wonderful part of BlissDom

 

 

Tags : BlissDom Canada Community LeaderGrieving a friendLosing a best friendLosing a friendToday's Parent Moms GroupTracy Chappell
Jenn & Chris

The author Jenn & Chris

Jenn & Chris are #TeamPowell Two adventurous souls who love the off-the-beaten path part of life. Mom & Dad to two kooky kids, they focus on living life without regret, living in kindness and living in the now.

6 Comments

  1. Jenn, you will always affectionately be ‘my other Jenn’, as this is how Tracy often explained who she was speaking of with much love and admiration. On several occassions she was convinced that we would ‘love’ each other. Indeed she was right! I LOVE everything you wrote and appreciate that you kept the description of the gaping hole in your stomach; ‘reader friendly’. (Kristal would approve 😉 You echoed my sentiments at every turn and expect I broke in similar places as when you typed out this beautiful eulogy. Tracy is never far from our thoughts these days and it eludes me as to how life….my life, keeps going on without her?

    This is what I want:

    I want to be the kind of friend that Tracy was!
    I want to embrace each moment as the treasure it is!
    I want to value people above everything else!

    Affectionately yours,
    ‘the other Jen’

  2. I believe we each take a bit of the people who we love the most. What we most admire about them we try to emulate and make it our own. From you I take passion, an open heart, a willing smile, and deep love. I thank you deeply for introducing me to Tracy, from whom I take such a warmth and openness, and kindness that I have rarely been privileged to enjoy. Her time may have been oh-so-brief, but her impact is oh-so-great. Sending much love to you. G.

  3. Oh my heart on reading this! I lost someone close to me two years ago and it felt exactly like this. There are days when it still does feel like this but not every single day anymore. My heart still easily remembers this (on seeing grandparents with their grandchildren and Moms and daughters out together I would want to scream at the unfairness of that.) I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful friendship you had! This is how I feel even still hearing songs on the radio that remind me of my Mom. You captured a really beautiful tribute here. I didn’t know Tracy, but I hope all the beautiful tributes help her family and friends.
    XO, Paula

  4. I want to say I know this grief-but really,nobody knows your grief like you do. For me, it was a chasm so huge that it took me more than a year to climb out. Now, the pain isn’t quite so acute, but little things remind me of my friend all the time.

    Be kind to yourself. It takes time. Cherish your memories and when it’s too hard, lean on your friends. Big, huge hugs to you. Anne told me once that she believed that you get one, maybe two if you’re really lucky, kindred spirit friends.

    It sounds like Tracy was that for you. How incredibly special that you had that time together. xo

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