.…CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY….
Here’s Unsaid Goodbyes Part 1 if you missed it.
I saw her years later at a doctors office in the next town over from our hometown. It was where I had moved after graduation and had moved back to years later—the town I still live in today. She spoke but didn’t seem eager to start the friendship up again.😢 I wanted to ask why she had pushed me away in high school, but it wasn’t the place, so I decided to leave it in the past.
About fifteen years later, I finally found her on Facebook, so I took a chance and sent a friend request. She added me.
We reconnected in 2010, but she only messaged me back a few times that year. She told me that she had first been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She had taken a year of chemo and radiation treatments. I told her about my own brush with cancer. Since her first diagnosis, she was an avid worker in Relay for Life, which helped to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Here’s the first message I received from her:
The girls from our graduating class were wanting to get together with just the ladies before the next 10 year Class Reunion.
The last I heard from her personally was on April 16, 2011. She was telling me she was still without electricity from the recent tornado that had swept through locally. And she wanted to let me know one of our friend’s sister and her two children had gotten killed in the tornado. She told me she loved me and wanted to make sure I knew about them. Those were the last things she told me..😢😭
I messaged her back, but never heard from her again. One day in June, my husband turned the local radio station on to listen to the news, and the local obituaries were read aloud. When they announced my friend’s name. I was so surprised and started crying!
I immediately went to my computer, checked fb and discovered she had made a few posts that her cancer had returned! I had not seen them! I can’t remember why. She passed away June 2011! 😭😭😭
I went to her wake. I tried to be strong. Her parents were standing near her, talking with someone who was giving their sympathies. So I approached her coffin. Tears filled my eyes as I saw the peace on her face.
Her parents stepped over to me and asked my name. I told them. It had been around 26 years since they had last seen me. They remembered me. We hugged and, I gave them my condolences. They told me how she had often talked about me and our times together, and how much I had meant to her. This proved to be too much for my heart to take…At this time, I still believed she hadn’t really cared, because she had not messaged me back much…
I said my goodbyes as good as I could manage and calmly walked out of the funeral home. As I exited the front entrance, my steps quickened, and I was practically running down the steps to get out of there. People glanced my way and looked funny, but I knew I had to get to my car before I lost it right there! As soon as I shut the door, I collapsed. The tears came and I could not stop from boo-hooing so loud I was sure everyone in the parking lot could hear! Thank goodness I had parked a ways away from the building.
When I could get myself together enough to drive, I took the back road home, so no one in town could see me squalling. I could barely see the road! I cried all the way home and then some! It hit me later that I felt like I had not gotten the closure I needed from our broken friendship. So I buried the grief and the guilt for years.
Till yesterday…that is….Something happened within me that let me know that all was forgiven. As I scrolled through her old posts, read every post and comment, looked at her pictures, and reread those last messages she sent me, it’s as if I could see things more clearly than I had before. I saw the love she gave to others and even in our own brief conversations.
The dam had burst for me. Healing had at last come. I cried all through writing this…With every pic, every post, every memory…I’m sure she had already made her peace. But it was my turn—TO LET GO.
So it’s here that I will say my final goodbyes to my precious friend…
I’m sorry Charlene. I did love you very much. I always will. You were my very best friend. It hurt me back then, the thought that you no longer needed me, our friendship, but you must have had your reasons. I know God has a reason for everything, too. All is forgiven. I hope you can forgive me, too for not trying to insist we talk about it. Oh how I wish I could have talked to you about it!!! I wish I had been brave enough. Forgive me for not being brave enough. I’m sorry if I did anything unknowingly to push you away. I’m sure you felt as guilty as I did through the years. Sorry I didn’t find out about your cancer in time! Sorry I wasn’t there for you in the end. Thank you for being my friend in your heart all these years.. I hope to see you again my dear friend! Oh the new and healed conversations we will have! I’ll bring the casserole my friend. 💜