We have been having family time for two weeks with our granddaughters. On Sunday I had a premonition that I was going to have to speed up ...that the rhythm was going to change. Do you ever have a strong sense of things?
Well, things have changed. My life has three, maybe four lifetime friends. These are the people who have been part of my story so long I can't imagine my life without them. These are the people who will be my ghosts or companions when I reach my end.
Nancy Bailey is one of these friends. She was my cohort in mischief when I was a (too) young mom with the burden of life already heavy on my shoulders. Together we were just girls who played and laughed and tortured our men with silliness. I loved her children and her husband with fierce purity. She loved mine. We could complain wildly about our lot in life but then returned to our people with willing hearts and hands. We were good for each other.
Nancy was the first woman I 'fell in love with' ... had heart pounding excitement when I knew we would see each other, laughed more than my quota when we were together and experienced her as brilliant, thoughtful, maddening, beautiful and fierce. Before her I thought being with men was ultimate. I just didn't know. Have you come to love women like that? ... you women, I mean!
Of necessity and sometimes choice, our contact was remote for some years, but she lived inside me. Friends do that. They move their stuff into our rafters and there it is ... quietly steadying our fears and strengthening our resolve just by taking up space. At least, that's what my friends do for me.
Well, Nancy died last night. I can't really believe she is gone. I talked to her daily until she couldn't talk any more and then I talked to her husband Joe about her. I feel like there is a big wind tunnel in my life, a tunnel that used to be full of 'stuff' and now it is empty and a huge fan is blowing wind down it.
So BS and I will make the grueling drive to Regina to be part of her funeral. She asked me to speak. She said, "Please, Mare, tell my children who I am." What a lovely thing to ask of a friend. I will do just that.