Years ago my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I lived in Saranac Lake, which is a small town nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. We were young and carefree, going to college, living life on our own for the first time. I still remember how strange it was moving to a new place and knowing no one else. It was a hard transition moving from my childhood home and my family, but eventually we made friends and settled into Adirondack life.
One of the dearest people I've ever met in my life, I met in Saranac Lake. My friend had a spirit and joy about her that was rare and special, her personality drew me in making me feel like I had been a friend for life. But after our first year in Saranac Lake, she moved away to Colorado to attend Naropa Institute in Boulder. I remember my eyes filling up with tears the day her rental house was packed. We said goodbye, but I knew we'd be seeing each other sooner than later.
We kept in touch, making phone calls and sending letters. Believe it or not this was before email was the main source of communication. That alone blows my mind. J and I made a trip out to Boulder the summer of 1993 for an extended visit to stay with our dear friend from Saranac Lake. We fell in love with Boulder and it was pretty much over from that point, we knew in our hearts Colorado would become our home. We came back to Boulder the following Spring to visit once again and settled on moving to Colorado in August of 1994.
My memory doesn't allow me to recall the actual day, but I am assuming at the end of May our friend surprised us unexpectedly in Saranac Lake the day we were moving back home with our families to work for the summer. It's sort of a strange turn of events, but the short of it was we were delayed pulling out of town because I shattered the back window of my hatch back. Having to deal with the mess just delayed what time we pulled out of Saranac Lake for good.
I can still remember her face after I opened our apartment door to an unexpected knock. I big hug followed her surprise visit. We sat for a while chatting. I remember feeling anxious about getting out of town. She invited us to spend the night at her mother's cabin, but we declined. I'll regret that decision for the rest of my life. That day was the last time I saw my friend, I can still hear her voice in my head, how she would draw out letters with her Philly accent and always put a smile on my face.
My friend sadly passed away in an automobile accident fifteen years ago. Two months before my hubby and I relocated to Colorado. She was our rock here, she was the tie that connected us to so many people here in Colorado, some of which are still our friends.
Fifteen years have passed so quickly, but there aren't many days that go by that I don't still think about her at some point through out my day. I catch a glimpse of the one photo of her and I sitting on my bookshelf. I see an antique tobacco cabinet in my dining room that was given to me, that was passed down in her family and remember how she once stored phone books in it. Now it houses my daughters' drawings and art supplies. I often wonder what she would be doing today and daydream about how she'd be an auntie to my girls. I know my girls would adore spending time with her.
Sometimes I feel a deep void where her beautiful spirit once filled, but other times I feel so grateful that she came into my life and I knew her, even if she was out of my life too soon. I know she brought J and I to Colorado, I don't know where we would have settled down if we didn't meet our friend. My life would not be what it is today if we didn't meet her, I can say that with most certainty.
Especially today, it holds such meaning, fifteen years later, I miss my dear friend. She'll always be in my heart, gosh I miss her...