years ago, when i didn’t take an opportunity to say something to someone and then lost the chance forever, i made a decision. i would say things i felt when i could. i would tell people what they meant to me, what i was thankful to them for, and how much i loved them – while i had the chance.
on occasion, that’s been a little much for some people. i’m sure it seems over the top sometimes. but i love hard. and don’t want to regret words unsaid. so, i tell you how i feel. and today is no different.
i was sitting at the pool the summer of 2018 when my girl nancy texted me, “can i call you?” and i didn’t know what was wrong, but i knew something was. we’d had difficult conversations before. a few years before, she asked me to go to lunch one day and while that was nothing out of the ordinary, i instantly knew this wasn’t just to talk shit (our favorite hobby together). we’ve always had that connection – some weird, deep, soul connection that sounds like a hallmark movie promo but isn’t. so when she told me she had breast cancer that summer day, we did what we do – spoke bluntly, made a few jokes, didn’t cry.
when she called me 12 days ago and there was silence on her end when i said hello, i knew then too. we still spoke bluntly, we still made a few jokes, we still kept it together. and i continued to until a couple days ago when she shared the news publicly. now, it’s real. now, it’s inescapable. my best friend is dying. and i’m going to tell her how i feel while i have the chance. and i’m going to write it here so that maybe you’ll tell that person in your life how much you love them too.
how can i honor her? how would she want me to? how do i bottle up all these memories and write them down so i don’t forget them years from now when i can’t text her to remind me? does she know how important she is? does she know how much she’s changed me? all of these thoughts and more have been flooding my brain for the last almost two weeks and i can’t articulate everything i feel but here’s my best effort:
i’m not going to wear pink every october for you.
you are so much more than that, so much more than this damn cancer.
but every october, and all of other months of the year, i will let the marginalized know that i’m standing with them. i’ll fight for the rights of other people, even and especially when i stand to gain nothing. i’ll take the time to learn instead of talk. i’ll watch steve buscemi movies on your birthday. i’ll try to catch myself when i complain about something and ask myself what i’m doing to change it. i’ll put myself out there to protect others. i’ll laugh every time i see a tumbleweed. i’ll remind myself there is hard and holy work to be done and the rest of the world might think i’m wrong, but i’ll do it anyway. i’ll challenge “normal”. i will let myself evolve as a person. i’ll make people feel beautiful and welcome. i will not be afraid to be uncomfortable if it means i’m helping change the world.
and i’ll speak up. every time. even, and especially, when my voice shakes.
because that’s when i have something worth saying.
we’ve taught each other that, haven’t we? how to stand up and speak up. how to fight for something, fight for someone. how to side eye bullshit realllll hard? 🙂
i won’t wear pink to honor you.
i’ll live like you. i’ll fight like you. i’ll love like you. and i’ll even keep up the obsession with stevie b. for you.
you are my fiercest friend. thank you for always showing up for me, always making me laugh, always teaching me, and always speaking up.
i’m better for being your friend. and the world is better for your bravery.
i love you, nance.