La mia bellissima amica

February 12, 2016

best-friendI’ve never believed in the concept of a single best friend.

Hearing “She’s my best friend” always made me wonder how other friends would feel if they knew they were runners-up in the good friends contest.

No, I never believed in “best” when it comes to friends, just “different.”  And I’m lucky enough to have many wonderful friends, all different from the others. I not only appreciate those differences, I celebrate them.

But there’s always the one friend you always feel most comfortable with. The one who loves you unconditionally. She doesn’t stop loving you if you do or say something stupid. She doesn’t think holding a different opinion is a friendship deal-breaker.

She’s the friend who knows you –all the good and a whole bunch of the bad–and still loves you. She’s the one with whom you can share the silly little minutiae of every-day life. She knows how you like your coffee and how you like your men.  And you have history together. Years of experiences, each one a stone in a beautiful, colorful mosaic.

At this age, it’s impossible to build 30 years of history with someone. The roots just can’t go that deep. That is not to say that I don’t feel close to newer friends. It’s just different.

In the weeks since Marilyn’s death, I’ve become all too familiar with the big hole she left in my life.  At least half a dozen times a day I’ll think, “I need to call Marilyn and tell her….” or “I’ll pick one up for Marilyn, too,”  or any number of other things that all involve talking to her or seeing her.

It’s hard to accept that I can’t.

best-friendThe loss is so overwhelming that I’ve had to pull my car over and cry, more than once.

I don’t think that’s going to stop any time soon.

I know she’s in a better place. I believe it with all my heart.

But I miss her so much.

When I think about our friendship, I can see that part of our comfort with one another was that we shared a cultural heritage, both of us Italian-American from the northeast.  Other than that? We had nothing at all in common, not really. She was a mom, a Nana and half a generation older than me.  I realized that I had no idea if she was Republican or Democrat. Think of that! A friend I’ve known for 30 years and it never came up. I think she was more conservative than I, but frankly, politics was completely irrelevant to our relationship. We never talked about it. We didn’t need to–there was so much else to talk about: our families, our other relationships, our work, our outings, our lives. What we found at Safeway. How we prepared salmon. The cost of gas. The latest deal at TJMaxx. Whether we should get her favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Ok, now, writing that made me cry–those pumpkin lattes I’d bring her when she was hospitalized at Stanford. Was it last year or two years ago? All those years just blur together now, part of our history.

It’s a funny thing about love, any kind of love including the love between friends. Love makes differences disappear.

I’ve written before about how my biggest challenge in this lifetime was to learn forgiveness. The Divine handed me a family situation that was not for the faint of heart. It would have destroyed many people.

But, see, that’s what made my friendship with Marilyn so important to me. She was with me and for me through thick and thin– the sister I always wanted and never had. My parents both gone and my siblings emotionally gone, I had no family to be on my side.

Marilyn was always on my side.

I thought we had more time. Even if it were just a year, I wanted it.  But I know it wouldn’t have been any easier in a year than it is now.

Just about every day I peer down into the void, hoping she’ll pop up and tell me it was all a bad dream. But it’s not a dream. She’s gone and there’s a big empty space I can never fill.

And maybe that’s ok. That space in my life was unique to her. No one else fits there.

Maybe that’s just part of being older. Your loved ones transition to the next life and you look at that empty space they once occupied and think of how beautiful it was to have them and that you’ll be together again one day.

Maybe we just have to be satisfied with that.

Mi manchi, la mia bellissima amica. I miss you, my beautiful friend.


31 comments on “La mia bellissima amica
  1. Laura Ehlers says:

    So sorry for your loss Carol. But what a wonderful thing, to have such a wonderful friend. All those memories will keep her close.

  2. Shari Eberts says:

    What a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful friend. All the best to you as you continue to remember all that was special in her.

  3. MELISASource says:

    One of the hardest things about forming a tight bond with someone is living through the loss of that bond. I have experience with this, and even today, I still find myself thinking I should call my friend. But I can’t.

  4. Joan Stonmen says:

    Beautiful tribute, Carol! You are writing your way through grief and it’s very touching to those who’ve also list loved ones. Bummer that we seem to lose more as we grow along….cherish the memories and know you made her so very happy too!

  5. andrea says:

    Lovely tribute to your friend – and prayers for you during this time

  6. tara pittman says:

    So sorry for your loss. It will take a while to grieve so give yourself time.

  7. This brought tears to my eyes, so I can only imagine the depth of your grief. A beautiful tribute. I wish you peace.

  8. Anna Palmer says:

    No one else fits there…so beautiful and relatable to every one of us who has a friend like this. I’m sorry and glad for you…

  9. Eugenia says:

    I’m so sorry for that 🙁 The hardest part in losing someone you love is missing them, It is so hard. Sii forte! Lei ti sta guardando dal cielo.

  10. Jacqui Odell says:

    I am so sorry for your loss!! I know losing someone is hard. You just have to take one day at a time! HUGS!!

  11. Wow, thanks so much for your vulnerability in sharing. Losing someone close to you is SO hard. I pray that you find healing over time and that you are able to cherish the memories that you have together.

  12. Michele says:

    This is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your friend. She is smiling down at you right now! I just spent two hours on the phone with my friend, we haven’t seen each other in several years, but we talk on the phone like it was yesterday. Your post makes me appreciate what I have.

  13. I wish I could give you a hug. I cried reading your words because my 30+ years of a girlfriend will be gone 2- years on my birthday, February 24. My whole body and soul already knows the date is approaching. I am sad, my brain is foggy and I am pulling over and crying again.
    I hope your sweet friend finds a way to let you know she is okay. She already tried to call you…

  14. Donna says:

    I am so sorry….if it helps I believe our eternal self continues on and I believe she is completely aware of you and her family. I think of them as the definition of a ministering angel. The heaven I believe in has purpose, not simply a place for clouds and harps. Our learning continues, our relationships continue but without our bothersome bodies, at least for awhile. I know I am “out there” but it feels right so that’s what I believe. My love to you Carol…it doesn’t surprise me that you would have such a wonderful relationship with someone. I know you loved her very much, and she loved you. And some day we will see each other again. But it still hurts, separation hurts.

  15. Elizabeth O. says:

    I would say I have more than one best friend. Each would understand me in a different way and that makes them all awesome. It’s tough to lose a friend you’ve had all throughout your struggles in life. I definitely get how much you miss her.

  16. Such a touching post, your words for your friend are beautifully written. I completely know that deep in your gut, sense of missing that comes with a loss. There are no words. I hope you come to find peace until you can be together again.

  17. This makes me so sad. I know it will happen one day…and I dread it. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  18. Top5life says:

    Will I also don’t believe in best friendship. friendship is a wonderful gift of God. would like to share with many.

  19. michelle says:

    i am so sorry for your loss. great friendships are an amazing thing to have and can leave such a hole afterwards. i know you will never forget her

  20. Rena says:

    Although I don’t have the long history that you shared with Marilyn I have lost 2 of the best friends I’ve ever had. One to suicide and one to a stroke at only 41. There are times when I still sit and cry and others that I still pick up the phone. It’s hard and I am so sorry that you are going through it now. I wish there were a way to magically take your pain away. I can only say I’m sorry and that doesn’t seem nearly enough so how about my thoughts are with you.

  21. Arianne Adams says:

    So sorry for your loss. but you had a beautiful tribute for your friend

  22. Lee Gaitan says:

    Ho capito tutto, carissima. I have lost three of my best friends and one sister in the past few years and it is so hard to live with the void they leave. It’s just like you said, you can meet new friends at this stage of life and become close, but you can never establish the same kind of history with them–just not possible at this point in the game. It’s hard and I have no magic words to make it easier except to say I understand and I’m thinking about you. PS I, too, am a Northeastern Italian-American, cento percento, actually. You have to go back about three generations to find one drop of French and that’s it!

  23. I am sorry for your loss. This is such a beautiful tribute.

  24. lexie lane says:

    So great and touching, this made me sad. I feel sorry for your loss.

  25. Amy Jones says:

    What a beautiful tribute, she sounds like an amazing friend. I’m sorry for your loss

  26. Tara says:

    It is rare and beautiful to have such a great friend. Thanks for inspiring us to reach out those to those near to us while we can and making the most of our friendships.

  27. Oh Carol. I am so sorry for your heart dear one. Special friends are so far and few between I am so sorry for your loss of Marilyn. ((hugs)) Thank you for sharing your story.

  28. Mardene Carr says:

    Sigh…death is so cruel. I can’t hear the word death these days without much tears since I lost my mum so I know how you feel. It is so hard and I am going to stop now before I start crying too much. HUGS!

  29. It’s always the small things that make you miss them the most. Having a strong bond with someone means that it is always more difficult when they are no longer with us.

  30. I’m so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful write-up on her. *soft hugs*

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