Yesterday I learned that a childhood friend had been in a terrible head-on collision and was being removed from life support after a week in ICU.
Heidi loved me through sixth and seventh grade when my family was imploding and I thought I’d never laugh again.
She helped me navigate my first major crush and gave me the courage to invite him over on his birthday for billiards and birthday cake–she even made the icing and was our chaperone so it wouldn’t be a “date.”
When we showed up at a pool party wearing the exact same KMart bathing suits, she downplayed the fact that she looked much better in it than I did, and she devised the idea that we could be “sychronized swimmers.” We spent the next two hours in our own little world, twirling and ducking under the water and pretending we were beautiful athletic women instead of awkward tweens.
I lost track of Heidi after I moved, but never forgot her infectious enthusiasm. I was delighted to find her again on Facebook a few months ago, and wasn’t surprised to learn that she had retained that tendency to enjoy life. Her last post was this Og Mandino quote: “Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”
I want to hide under the covers today, Heidi. I’m angry at a world that would snatch you out of it, and I want to rage and wail. But I know you’d pull me out of there, and make me laugh and bake a cake and swan dive.
Rest In Peace, my friend.