I lost one of my very closest friends in 2020 to breast cancer. She was a very private person so I don’t want to go into too much detail about her illness, but I do want to share her amazing qualities, things that made her so special to me, and some reflections I’ve had. We celebrated her life this past Monday with a beautiful memorial service, and as the fond memories flooded in surrounded by people who all shared a common love for her, seeing the fragility of life so close changed me.
She was a beautiful person, inside and out. We met through our study abroad program and I’ll never forget when we first saw each other in the Florence airport. She had the most perfect hair, it was long and curly and I liked that she kept it natural. While we were all blow-drying, using flat irons, dying highlights, hers was just naturally gorgeous and she wore it with such confidence. She had on lots of thrifted clothing and carried very little luggage for a five month stint in another country. I immediately had a curiosity and wonder about her and couldn’t wait to spend the next five months getting to know her.
We became incredibly close throughout those five months, bonding over our European travels, our love of art and italian culture (all the pasta and wine please), we met italian boyfriends and rode on the back of their vespas through the city, we sun bathed along the arno, had more gelato than any human should, frequented the statue of David and all the other museums, we had the most quintessential experience living in Italy and our bond has never been broken.
We spent the next 15 years together doing all the things friends do in their early twenties and thirties. We lived in New York together, went through weddings, babies, travel, summer trips to Block Island, shows, countless nights in Connecticut and New York. We really squeezed the life out of our time together and for that I am so grateful.
Whenever someone close to me passes, I take comfort in imagining that their spirit will live on through each and every person they touched. This was remarked at her memorial, and encouraged, as she had such a palpable positive energy.
The night of her memorial I wrote some things down as I reflecting on her spirit and the values she embodied … I imagined what she would tell me before she left us :
- live a true life, be yourself and don’t feel pressure to “fit in” to any molds formed by others.
- love your children for who they are, slow down and be gentle with them, even in times of stress.
- be intentional with what you put out into the world.
- don’t be afraid to show your silly side, the world needs to laugh!
- show the people you love, your love, as often as you can.
- small gestures like writing a hand written note to someone you love has a huge impact.
- remember your friend who passed when you’re having a hard day, what would she say to you…
Thank you for being here friends, it means the world to me to be able to share these thoughts with you <3