My best friend in the whole wide world buried her beloved mother today. I thought about my dear friend this morning, breathing as I would have admonished her to do had I been there. Praying as I would have prayed with her if I could have been by her side. But I wasn’t there. Unable to make the trip for too many reasons to count. Feeling lost as I imagined the hurt that she was dealing with. Feeling useless as I went through a seemingly normal routine just to get through the day. It felt foreign to me. My friend is the sister of my heart and in all of our many years together there has never been a time when we were not there in body and spirit to support each other through a hard time. Finding solace and comfort in a friendship that has endured and nurtured us when we needed it most. I had been there when her father passed, never leaving her side until well after he was laid to rest. My friend was with me when I lost my son, coming on the first flight when I called to tell her he was gone. Not being physically there to support her was a knife to my heart like I had not felt in a very long time.
I have fond memories of her mother, the woman who many times mothered me alongside her own daughter. Memories of time spent in her home when I went there for play dates as a child and when I just showed up at her door as a teen. Memories of our parents together and a lifelong friendship that nurtured and supported us. Memories of her admonishments for us to do and be better because she was watching, always having a maternal eye on our doings. Memories of our road trips to Seton Hall University to visit my bestie when she was away at school and had taken up residence in New Jersey. Memories of conversations that challenged my beliefs and sometimes gave me pause. I’ve got good memories!
When life took a turn and it looked like my future was nose-diving South, it was her mother who sought me out, sitting down with me to make sure I was well. When I cried, she patted my hand and doled out maternal advice that I still follow to this day. When I began to write, she encouraged me, supporting my endeavors although she was very vocal about preferring my literary work over my romance. It was only a few short years ago that she indulged in those “sexy” stories, laughing heartily when we teased her about it.
She was regal in stature and exemplified what a well-lived life should look like. She traveled, was well-read and passionate about those things that were important to her. Most particularly her daughter. She was the epitome of grace, with a gentle spirit and a magnanimous heart. She could also be stern, was highly disciplined, and not a woman you wanted to cross.
Louise Williams Thomas, you will be missed!