in rememberance.

last week the world lost a saint. a daughter and sons lost their mother. a husband lost his wife.
heaven gained an angel.

this is how i want to see it.
how we should see it.
i am having a hard time seeing it that way.

last week a brave lady lost her battle with illness.
i am so so so sad. and mad. my heart is broken. heavy.
helen passed away on good friday.
a day marked by jesus christ.
a day, i know, helen held dear to her. she was very catholic.
to me this seems powerful and meaningful. the perfect day for her.
well....no....no day would be perfect. i wanted her to live forever.
there were still so many more memories to make.

33 years ago my mother and this magnificent lady met at storytime at the library and all our fates were sealed. best friends from the word go. she had a two year old daughter. my mom had a two year old daughter. that was that.

through bike school, preschool, elementary school, high school and into adult hood, our mothers {and families} were joined at the hip.
for my whole life {well that that i remember...and i remember a lot!} this woman was there for me.
my mom always said to me "if you can't find me - find helen. just find her or make your way to her house." {their house was closer to town than ours.}
and many many times i did.
my summer away at ballet school in winnepeg my mom didn't want to tell me that we were moving. so she didn't. and they moved. and i called home.
and the number was disconnected. {this was before cell phones and that funny thing called email. this was even before portables!}
so...i called helen.
she explained it to me and calmed the 10 year-old me down.
my mom didn't want to worry me with what was going on at home - she wanted me to concentrate on the ballet. it was getting sorted and they had to do what she had to do - i talked with her the next day.

my mom looked at me at 19 and told me i had to get it together and that she had heard of girls going over to england to be nannies and maybe that would be good for me. so i did. and lucky for me, helen and her WHOLE family {including my bestie, well 2nd bestie ;), catherine!!} were going over there on a teacher's exchange and were only a two hour commuter train ride away. i spent every weekend off with them. she was my england mom.

then when i announced that i was getting married she told my mom that she really wanted to throw me a bridal shower. and she did.
and we asked her to say the blessing at our wedding. and she said yes. we are not religious but she is a devout catholic so i knew it would mean a lot to her and it meant a lot to me that she be a part of our day somehow.

she was always there for things.....my kids first birthdays, visits to our new houses, allowing us to drop in and visit with them {to toddlers in tow.}
there are too many memories. awesome memories.
lifetime memories.

i didn't get to see her in her final days and maybe that's how it should be.
i should remember her as the strong, compassionate, graceful woman that she is.
not what the illness made her out to be. but who we all knew was still inside.
it couldn't take that away.

today at 11am is her funeral.
i couldn't be there. but i am there. my heart is there.
in my heart i am sitting in the front row with catherine squeezing her hand so tight and holding her up.
remembering. and smiling. for she was one amazing woman.


allison carmen said...

May Helen Rest in Peace.

Jen said...

thank you allison.

Maggie May said...

I have a completely parallel story, although my loved one is still alive. My mom and Corinne became best friends when I was in kindgergarten, and are still. Julie is Corinne's daughter and we became best friends, and still are, at age 37. over 30 years of sharing life together.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Jen said...

thanks maggie. we still have a "troop" of us that are still comrades from the same library group of years ago. one of the friends and me had a giggle a while ago that we could say we had been friends for 30 years. we do not feel old enough for that sentence! and i have another with whom i could say we have been friends for 35 years.....our mothers had a joint baby shower!

thanks for your kind words.