It’s been a year. Twelves months since I was able to talk and laugh with my friend Debi Weaver. Fifty two weeks since she, her husband John and their daughter Courtney perished in a small plane crash. Three hundred and sixty five days of eerie silence in that part of me where twenty five years of shared laughter resides.
A year ago, when the pain was fresh, I wondered if I would ever go another day without thinking of her. I am still wondering because it hasn’t happened yet. And I’m not the only one. John didn’t have a Facebook page, but a year later, people still post things on Debi and Courtney’s wall all the time. That is an amazing testament to how profoundly they touched the lives of those around them and evidence of the fact they are not forgotten.
It’s odd when you think about it. While she was alive, I didn’t think about Debi every day. Oh, I though of her often, especially when something funny would happen that I thought she’d appreciate. I might even pick up the phone and call her, but not daily. I didn’t question the utter certainty that we would be friends when we were stooped and gray and that we would reminisce over jigsaw puzzles at Shady Acres Rest Home. I took the future I thought we’d have as friends for granted. This year of missing her ferociously has taught me that the adage about not missing what you have until it’s gone rings more true than I would like.
I hope this year of loss has made me more intentional about telling those who are important to me that I love them and cherish their friendship. I hope that it’s taught me to make time for family and friends even when life is busy and chaotic. I hope this year of fiercely missing Debi reminds me to never again take the future, that I now understand is not a guarantee but a gift, for granted. So, while I might not be able to do jigsaw puzzles with her at Shady Acres, I will think about Debi for the rest of my days. It is not a burden. It’s a privilege.