Long Overdue Letter to a Best Friend
As fair warning, this post has nothing to do with training, cyclocross, racing or anything athletic. Just me. This post has been a long time coming, but every time I’ve gotten hit with the urge to write it, I haven’t been at a computer. This morning, it hit me hard, so here goes. Forgive the lack of an upbeat attitude that I try to bring to this blog on a regular basis.
Maybe it’s because I just got back from vacation, maybe it’s that the school year is just starting up, maybe it was driving up to Cape Cod and passing through Rhode Island, but just when I thought that I was starting to move on, it turns out, I’m not.
So. This is a post about the absolute best person that I have ever known, my best friend, and the person I miss more than anything in the world.
Normally, when someone close to me passes away, it’s easy for me to write about it. It’s easier for me to write my feelings down and grieve that way. When my grandparents passed away, I wrote eulogies for all of them and it helped me feel better about losing them, like I had said a proper goodbye. I haven’t been able to write like that about Lindsay yet, and I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to do her justice.
The day we became best friends was the day that she came up to me at my locker and asked if I was dating this kid in our class. I said no, he was just a friend and neighbor. She told me she liked him, and that she was hoping I would bring him over to her house for dinner that weekend. I said yes, and we hatched a plan to get the two of them together.
Ten year olds can be pretty darn tricky.
That relationship never blossomed, but ours did.
I was a shy kid. So was she. We met when we were 6 and our parents attempted to make us well-adjusted by putting us in a Girl Scout Troop. It kind of worked, since we found each other. Gradually, as years went on, we stopped being the shy kids we once were and took incredibly separate paths. In high school, I was the little punk kid, she was the preppy cross country runner. Still, we were unlikely best friends, though disapproving ones. We had – outside of our circles of friends in school – a “group” of six of us from elementary school, all as different as you could imagine, all friends. And of course, there was drama over who liked who and who dated who. We were 16, after all. But… Linds and I never once fought over a guy, despite the fact that we probably – by teen law – should have, several times. In fact, for the nearly 20 years we were friends, I don’t remember a single fight.
Lindsay was, by a huge margin, the most upbeat person that I knew. We had our serious moments, but they were always tempered by the fun ones. Even as grown up college women, we had slumber parties and woke up to watch Hannah Montana marathons and gossip (usually about boys, not going to lie). Of course, grown-ups that we were, those mornings were preceded by parties rather than family dinners, but the point remained: I don’t make friends with women easily. Lindsay was the exception.
She never forgot a birthday, and hers is one of the very few that I remember. In seventh grade, we shared a Spanish textbook for an entire year and didn’t learn any Spanish because we were too busy writing notes to each other in the margins. (My sister, 3 years younger, ended up getting that same book when she hit seventh grade, much to our chagrin.) She planned my sweet sixteen surprise party at a roller rink. She came on family vacations. We have an entire notebook filled with inside jokes that no one else will ever, ever understand. She wasn’t just my friend; in so many ways, she was my sister.
I have never seen my dad cry. Ever. But when he heard about her, seeing his reaction was almost harder to take than the news itself, because that made it real. It was a sudden thing, which made it harder. At 24, you’re not supposed to lose your best friend. And parents should never have to lose a child that young, that suddenly, ever.
I feel weird writing and publishing this post, since most of you reading don’t know me very well, and didn’t know her. But I’m writing this post because she deserves it. Because I miss her every day. Because I still go to call her about silly stuff, and then it hits me again. It’s been almost 9 months, and I’m no closer to getting past it than I was the day I got the call.
There is no one who knows as much about me, and no one who could ever compare to how amazing and wonderful Lindsay was. It’s not a platitude- I legitimately cannot remember one negative thing about her, and neither could anyone else we knew. She made such a subtle difference in so many lives, and cliche as it is, when she was gone, the world seemed a little less bright.
This morning, my mom was telling me that Lindsay’s mom met a little girl at the beach we used to go to, and after talking to her for a few minutes, the girl started to go back to her parents, then turned around and said, “You’re all my family and I love you all.” Whatever that might mean, I hope that wherever she is, she knows just how much I miss her and love her.