Jennie, my best friend from high school, lost her mother last week. The sting of death is tempered by the belief that her mother isn’t really “lost,” and she will be her mother forever. Because of the kind of woman Becky was, those who know and love her are certain that she is exactly where she should be, reunited with those who have passed on before her, in the presence of the Savior. But she will be missed by those left behind; her husband, her sons, her daughters, her grandchildren, her friends.
There are a few people in my life with whom I have an enduring friendship. You know the type–you can go months without speaking and then get together and it is as if nothing has ever changed. A phone call reconnects lives in a matter of minutes and the history you have together serves as a reference for the present. Jennie is one of those friends. We met our freshman year in high school, but went to rival schools. We went to the same church, took a two-week bus trip back East, danced on a dance team together, and were part of the same group of friends throughout our teenage years. We went our separate ways for college, but have always kept in touch and visited when we could. Jen deserves more of the credit for this than I do; she has always made an effort to stop by when she was in town, or call with important news of babies, jobs, moves, etc.
What I love most about our friendship is how we’ve shared so many “rites of passage.” Boyfriends who became husbands who became the fathers of our children who became the focus of our lives, giving us endless things to talk about on those semi-annual phone calls or visits. Family happiness and family struggles, worries and stresses, and successes and failures have all been a part of the lasting connection we have.
This new “rite of passage” is the most difficult one yet. Her mother became ill and was hospitalized for a month, yet Jen still made time to get together with our friend Marianne for just an hour. She texted status updates on her mom, and I prayed and hoped for a recovery. Then she texted me and said the recovery didn’t come, and her mom was gone. I cried off and on all day. Not for her mother, but for Jen. My heart aches for my friend, my sister, my teenage BFF. This sadness is something new to share, and something we are sure to share again and again as life progresses. I feel blessed to know that she will mourn with me when my parents pass on, and she will know just what to say to comfort my aching heart. That’s what forever friends do, and I am lucky enough to have several.
Love to you and your family, Jennie.