I met my mother’s best friend, Pat, for lunch this summer when I went to Portland for a visit. Lunch with Pat for me is far more than a shared meal. Something today made me long for a lunch date with Pat.
In Pat’s smile I can see decades of laughter shared with my mother. In the special glint of her eyes I can see the mischievous moments she shared with my mother. I can hear remnants of mother echoing in Pat’s laughter.
In my memory I can hear the many ways Pat’s name cross my mother’s lips.
“Pat,” said in between laughter with exasperation.
“Pat,” said with expectation of good times ahead.
“Don, make Pat stop crying!” said on my mother’s deathbed.
“Pat,” said with the deepest of love and sureness of friendship.
During lunch with Pat we easily touch upon the happiest of memories and the abyss of sorrow found in our shared loss. The void my mother casts a shadow of absence throughout our days.
Pat is a touchstone of memories filled with everything from laughter to loss. Together, my mother and Pat were two tenacious feisty women who walked beside me throughout my life. Pat was part of my life as I learned to walk, she was there as we said goodbye to my mother and even now she is a powerful presence as I continue to relearn to walk without the balance my mother gave to my life.
What I have learned from grief is that you should make the effort to spend time with the best friend of your loved one. There is a special connection in shared loss that only the other can fill.
As the managing editor of 360 Degrees of Hope: Reflection of Hope I discovered how much we all need each other in this journey. There will be some people who think a month has passed, a year has passed, or whatever amount of time has passed and you should be over your grief. But grief is long, and wide and deep. Just this week thinking of Pat made me miss my mom as if she had only recently left this earth.
In Pat I always find a piece of my mother, deep and knowing love, levity, and balance. Lunch with Pat is priceless.