You left this world a little over four years ago. Dealing with the loss of a friend who was more than a friend sent me reeling. I haven't, until now, been able to think about losing you without tears, let alone write about it.
Maybe I'm ready now. We'll see. Four years later, here's my letter to you. From my heart.
It's been a long, long time, hasn't it?
That day in April just over four years ago when we said goodbye is seared in my mind. We didn't actually say goodbye, but we both knew that's exactly what it was. You left so soon after that day. No more pain. Rest - you welcomed it, I know.
But, the heart aches anyway. And, mine's ached since you left.
We often told each other how much our friendship meant. That's one thing for which I am grateful. Even so, I need to tell you one more time.
Why was our friendship special? So many reasons. We had each other's backs. When I was angry about something, so were you. You never said, "Oh, don't feel that way. You're only hurting yourself." You understood my need to vent and work things out in my head. You became angry FOR me. My "enemies" were yours. I'll never forget it.
We went through so many life changes together. Single life, marriage, the birth of your beautiful daughter, all the pets, the moves, the job changes, life's frustrations - we were there for all of it.
You remembered things about me that even I forgot.
And, you had such a big heart. When you heard about one of my brother's struggles with his family, you sent boxes of clothes and other items for the kids. It made such a difference in their lives.
Of course, you had a temper. We both did. You had that cool Norwegian "attitude" until you blew. I had the instant rage only an Irish redhead can have. Which, of course, meant we sometimes got angry at each other. The anger never lasted. We never worried that our friendship was over. We knew nothing would break us.
You'd be so proud of your daughter. Ready for college! She's a smart, thoughtful young woman who's going to make a difference in this world. She's the young woman you and her dad raised her to be.
I hope you'd be proud of me, too. Me and cats - you know all about that! Since you left, I've helped many strays and feral cats and kittens find homes, survive the winters, and become healthy. I'm writing, too. And, reading tons of books, some of which I know you'd love. I wish I could share them with you.
You don't get many friendships in life like the one we had. Some people never have them. Even though you're gone, I thank you for being that kind of friend. We were lucky. Long ago we made friends at work, and over the years we became family. I miss you.