It’s been six years since I last saw you

Dear Lina,

It’s been six years since I last saw you.  Six years to the day.  It’s funny what memories stick with a person the most clearly as time moves forward.  I remember clearly the day I first met you.  I was visiting Hazen one morning when I was in 8th grade for orchestra.  You and Erika were sharing a stand back then, you guys were already in high school, and for some stupid reason Erika and I were fighting.  You took it upon yourself to put the lowly 8th grade girl in her place, and you did.  It was kind of ironic when I came to Hazen the next year as a freshman, Mr. Hibbard put me in a chair ahead of you, and it made you so mad.  The freshman being the better violinist than the junior.  We shared a stand for the rest of your time at Hazen, two more years, and you made it interesting.  There were days that were good and we would push each other to be better musicians.  And there were days that you made it a point to put the underclassmen in her place.  The day came when you graduated from Hazen, and I remember you signed my yearbook, and said something like “Never grow up.  Stay a kid forever, because the really real world is scary.”

And then you were gone from my life.  Until one day when I was taking classes with Ange at the shop, and I was pregnant.  It was a “witchy-mixer” night when the Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced student would get together for a potluck and have ourselves a grand ole’ time.  I had my “Hi, My Name Is” sticker on, Hi, I’m Ravenna! And then one on my belly with an arrow on it saying “Witchy Baby to Be” and you walked by me and said my name.  And there you were!   It was pretty amazing seeing you again after all that time.  You had gotten married, and had two beautiful children.  Both of them were so amazing, you were so blessed with them.  You had changed so much, too.  You were more grown up, life had taught you so many lessons, and now you were all about Love and Happiness.  You were so loving.  You were so excited when you found out I had Aiden, and that I was going to have another.

I learned some stuff about you during that time.  I found out that you had fibromyalgia, and had suffered from it for years.  Even back in high school, which blew my mind.  I never had a clue back then.  Back then you were Miss Popular, beautiful, talented, I wanted to be like you.  You would laugh when I told you that.  You told me that I should wear more pink.  You were all about the pink.  You made me laugh when you told me that as soon as I was done having that baby, we were going to go shopping and you said I needed to wear more pink.

I remember when we had my baby shower, and you and Ange had me cracking up because who knew you two were so competitive?  It was a really fun day, wasn’t it? You won the game where we had to see how many clothespins you could pull off the line and hold in one hand, while carrying a “baby”.  It was just hilarious watching everyone having such a good time.

There came a time a few weeks later that we all learned of my Grandpa being diagnosed terminal cancer, and then a few days later he was gone.  It’s funny, I had put out the post to the list, and not even 5 minutes later you were calling me, asking me if there was anything you could do.  I think I was still in shock, it hadn’t hit me yet that he was gone.  It was just a few days later that we were back at the shop.  There was a visiting Japanese teacher, a guru, Dada Ragatananda (I think that’s how it was spelled) who played the sitar and spoke about something that I can’t even remember now.  But I remember how eager you were for that special concert.  It was during that concert that the first contractions came, and we knew that the baby would be coming soon.  You grabbed my hand and squealed with excitement, demanding that the moment I went into the hospital to deliver you wanted me to call you, no matter what time it was, you wanted to be there.  I promised that you would be called, and I spent the next three days with prolonged first stage labor.  I went into the shop that Saturday, Diann was giving chair massages, so Steve and Fran paid for me to get a massage to help relax me.  Mom and Derrick took me to Muckleshoot Casino after that for all you can eat seafood buffet.  It was when I got home and checked my email that I got the news.

You had died.

It was horrible, I sat in a state of shock in front of the computer, unable to comprehend that you were gone.  They said it was a bad reaction to the meds you were on to manage your fibromyalgia, you had gone in your sleep.  I remember calling Steve and crying, and Aiden trying to comfort me.  I heard later that the others on the List almost didn’t want to put the post out because they were worried I would see it and that my labor would stop.  They were right, it did.

I drove back out home to Maple Valley from Steve’s house and I heard the song, “Lightning Crashes” by Live came on the radio.  I had to pull over my car I was crying so hard, I worried that I might crash.  I missed you so much.  I wandered around all day Sunday in a fog.  I couldn’t sleep that night.  I woke up really early Monday, Valentine’s day, the day of Love, and I needed to write.  So I wrote about you.

I wrote about how amazing it was to find you again, how blessed I was to have had a chance to meet and become friends, that our children could be friends with one another.  I went back to bed, and just a couple of hours later I woke up and it was time, my labor had finally started again and it was time to go to the hospital to have my baby.  So off we went.

How fitting it was, that I would have my baby on the day of Love, something you were so keen to teach.  I spent 6 hours in labor, and to this day I swear, you kept your promise.  You were with me that day, when I had Finn, holding my hand just as you promised you would be.

I miss you still, there are days that I wish I could call you and get our kids together to play, drink tea and laugh and have a good time.  Ange was asked to give your eulogy and she was having the hardest time coming up with what she would say.  Until you stepped in, and she spoke about Love.  It was moving, and I cried for you.

It’s been six years, and it still hurts, but not as much as it did back then.  I think about you a lot, and there are times that I still cry when I remember you.  I took your advice, and I wear a lot more pink.  I hated pink, I’m sure you remember… but now, I wear a lot of pink.

Today has been an okay day.  I thought about you, and I needed to write to you.  I miss you, you were such a wonderful friend.  I know that you are still there, in some way, watching, guiding us.  Waiting to come back to us and with us.  We miss you and love you, but we know that someday we will see you again.

I hope that you are at peace my dear friend.  I hope that the things that troubled you in this life have left you forever, but that you still have that open loving heart.  I can hardly wait to meet you again someday, somewhere in another lifetime.

Goodbye for now, Be in Peace and Love,

~ Ravenna

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