Thursday, March 12

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

Isn't it funny how time has a feeling? Last week, time felt like it was flying. With planning and visits and friends constantly around it seemed as though clock was moving at warp speed. The sadness of losing a friend was matched only by the flurry of activity.

This week feels so painfully slow. Time is literally standing still. All there is to do now is remember the past. To scroll through old texts. To wish for more time. The sadness now is matched only by the silence. It's truly awful. 

I tiptoe around grieving. It doesn't seem like my place to own it fully and the time allotted for me to cry is quickly coming to an end. At some point it's just weird right? She wasn't my sister or even my cousin. We didn't grow up together and we were never roommates. My feelings are nothing compared to Jeremy's and those of her sweet girls. But she was a bright spot in my every day and it's impossible to believe that she is gone forever. Sometimes, no matter how hard I will it to stop, the grief knocks the wind out of me. It's hard to move on. It's hard to even write those words. It's seems wrong to go back to routines. To pretend like it never happened. 

I am pouring myself into my promise of being there. Helping sort out a new world order. Planning a vacation designed to bring smiles to the girls faces. Deciding how to decorate rooms that were left undone. Being there as much as I can for all of them without earning a restraining order. (Shut up Jeremy).

Doing my best to be there for my family. Listening to my daughter's own fears and her confusion about a God who would take her cousin Zoe and her friend's mommy. Consoling people who knew Laura that I run into in restaurants or grocery stores. Dealing with the world's dumbest dog who keeps running away from his better than average home. 

I am going through the motions like so many that loved her, but let's face it, we are all pissed. And really, really sad. 

And just when I start to give into the anger and the tears again, I look at the yellow rose sitting on my window sill and I reread the poem she picked out for her own funeral program. I imagine her sitting at her desk facing the death sentence she had just been given by her doctors. Instead of being angry, or Googling "how to punch Cancer in the effing face" she was searching for something to leave us with to help get us through these very days. Who does that?  Laura did. 

I wish I could say that I am forever changed by this whole experience. That I will be a better person. That I will cherish friendships and reach out to people I love more often. That I will live with no regrets. I don't know if I can live up to those high expectations and to the impossible standard she set for all of us, but I will try. And really, that's all she would ask of me.

- Allie 

PS....Laura asked me to design her office. It was the place she spent the most time. The place she searched for this poem. So the next time I post to this blog it will be with pictures of the completed space. Wish me luck! (Especially dealing with you know who.... #sainthood)


When tomorrow starts without me
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me
I know you'll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.

And said my place was ready
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But when I walked through heaven's gates
I felt so much at home,
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.

He said, "This is eternity
And all I've promised you,
Today for life on earth is past
But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow
For today will always last,
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.

So when tomorrow starts without me
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me
I'm right here in your heart.

Thursday, March 5

Dear Laura

"I hope you will tell everyone what is going on. I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm antisocial. :)"

That was the last text you sent me. I yelled at you for texting me when you were supposed to be sleeping. I told you that your friends had organized a fancy shoe drop off instead of a meal delivery service for you since you weren't at the party to weigh in.  

I couldn't sleep on Monday. I sent you this in the middle of the night "Not sure if you have your phone and hopefully you are sleeping. But I can't so I thought I'd just send a quick note letting you know I am thinking of you and praying you will get better. I love you to bits and pieces my friend. Be strong. xoxo."  It was a serious note from me for a change and I awaited your "Shut the hell up, I am FINE" response. But it never came. You were already gone. 

People keep asking me how long I have known you. Three years but it doesn't matter. You were like a little sister. I tell them how Ava and Lauren were on Arrows together at the pool and how she kept bugging me about a play date with her new best friend. She pointed you out at the pool. You were wearing that ridiculous green tankini and serving the girls kale chips from their matching monogrammed beach bags. I was soaking wet and ordering Pizza Bolis for the tenth time that summer. "COME ON Ava! That's the mom?" I walked over. You gave me a smile and a hug. 

By fate, or miracle, the girls both made travel soccer and were put on the same team. I met Jeremy and I realized why you liked me. Loud, pushy, sarcastic, smart ass, fast driving, Merecedes loving...we were kindred spirits he and I. And like a light bulb, I realized that you were just like Mike. Quiet, calm, strong, focused, could care less about cars except when you were at a soccer match and wanted to stay warm. And that is why I loved you. 

You were strong back then. We sat together at every game. Like the muppets Waldorf and Statler watching our girls play. I yelled. You led by quiet example urging me to shut up. We talked about school and camps and design and our respective Cancer battles. Mine a joke. Yours impossible. You told me I should go with the dark floors in our house but warned me they would always be dirty and I'd have to vacuum every day. I thought you were kidding. You bought me a Swiffer sweeper. 

We watched Bobby and Claire run around together. Then we watched Claire kick his butt. Regularly. They talked about getting married one day. We joked about being inlaws. We loved that idea. 

You got sicker last year and things changed. I complained about the heat at the pool and you told me I should try wearing your hair hat. I told you that not one person would care if you took off your wig in the heat. You said your girls would. 

I found delicious healthy organic food recipes. And then made them for your kids instead of my picky ones. I thought you only ate really good and disgusting looking foods but then you and I raided your kids Halloween candy when your chemo diet demanded sweets. 

In November, we sat in your new basement together. The basement I helped you decorate when we went to Target and spent $500 on pillows and a little red table. Jeremy told me to stop spending his money and go away. I skipped away and told him I'd be back to do the office. We never got there. 

We sat there that day after a particularly hard doctors appointment and you told me you were scared. You told me you were worried that the girls would be angry at how unlucky they had been in life to have a mom who was sick and who may die. You told me that you felt really guilty about that and I told you you had to let that go. Then we broke into "Let It Go" at the same time. 

You never complained except about my restaurant choices and the smell of food. You never went out without makeup. I picked you up at 6am to go to chemo and you were wearing pearls and high heel boots. I had on yoga pants and Uggs. You told me you didn't do unpresentable. I told you you were a pain in the ass. 

I am busy now. Planning a fancy party for your funeral. I keep starting to text you to tell what is going on. I want to tell you how I ran around like a maniac last night cleaning my house before your mom came over. I want to tell you how sweet the girls are and how they hugged me so hard on Wednesday morning and then made stupid goofy faces to make me laugh. I want to tell you about Jeremy. And how strong he is being. And how he is putting up with having so many people around which you know he doesn't like. And how last night he sent me an email from your account with the subject line "Allie...It's Me!" as a joke.

Mostly, I just want to chat about who is doing drop off and pick up next week. I want to beg you for the 100th time to come skiing with us. I want to look at more paint colors because the eighteen shades of grey currently painted on your walls aren't quite right. 

I saw you on Thursday. I gave you a hug. I should have come in. I should have forced you to cry on my shoulder. I shouldn't have left. I didn't know. 

I hear you telling me to knock it off. To get myself together and stop whining. I hear you reminding you of my promise, those months ago, to be there for your girls. To help them find joy again. And telling me to help Jeremy even when he doesn't want it. I will do all of that my friend. 

And I will smile again. Because these goofballs won't allow me to be sad for too long. But today, as the snow falls, I get to cry and on Saturday I will get to say goodbye. I feel so lucky to have known you Laura Scott. I only wish it was for longer.