I recently read a blog that went over a check list of what someone might look for in a best friend. It really intrigued me. I never thought of a check list for a best friend. Looking over the list, I quickly checked off yes to all 10 attributes in reference to my friend Liz. Things on that list included; honesty (does these jeans make my butt look big - um…yes,) ability to laugh (apple martinis help,) comforts in time of need (see apple martinis,) agrees to disagree (Republican vs. Democrat,) to name a few. I wanted to give something to her to let her know she means the world to me now and forever.
This is my letter to Liz.
I can not believe it is almost eleven years that we met at Maria’s house for the MOM’s meeting. It seems like yesterday. I knew I liked you the instant we met. Loved that you were an ex-New Yorker. Weren’t we all? Was so excited to get to know you and off you went during that summer to New York and I wouldn’t see you until school started. Ugh. I was teaching Religious education (CCD) at church with someone that I really didn’t like and knew I didn’t want to teach with her again. I was walking into the parish school and you were walking out, when we bumped into each other and started chatting (the start of many, many chats to come,) when you suggested that we teach together. You said you like to do arts and crafts (which you know I hate!) and I would do more of teaching scripture. Frick and Frack as we were known, was born.
Matty and Katie’s 1st communion picture in 2001. They look like a little bride and groom!
How we talked everyday. Special friendships are a rarity, but I knew this was the start of one for sure.
Then came 9/11. Even though we were only friends a short amount of time, it was strange (not a coincidence) that we called each other 4 days after the attack and said, almost at the same time, we have to go to New York and do something, anything.
Everything about putting that trip together went perfectly. We were set to go November 1st. We had the parish school make rosaries for which we would drop off at Ground Zero for whom ever wanted them. It was great to have “our kids” make a poster for the fireman to let them know we care and that we will pray for them as well. I was deathly frightened to fly considering what had happened on 9/11. But not you - you were as cool as they get. Then we get the front row of the plane with the bad breath dentist guy who kept saying “if this was your last five minutes on earth until you died - who would you call first?” Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?? I wanted to throw the guy out the emergency door! Then you said you had to go potty. Oh no you are not leaving me, and to make matters worse - I look behind us to think two guys in the back, look like “terrorists.” Yes, it was stupid, but my head was spinning from being on the plane and flying! You said if you didn’t come back in five minutes, to take the 50 rosaries and go choke them! Nice…….
We get to New York and God so had His hand on this trip. How was I to know that when we visited my mom, and took a picture, it would be the last time I saw her alive. And you were there. We laughed and of course, she made us something to eat. I will always treasure that moment that you were with me and my mom.
We get to the city and again, God lead us to Ladder 6 where they greeted us so warmly. They embraced our gift and even let us stay to help them cook dinner!
We were truly blessed to have had that time with all of them. Then came time to donate the rosaries. We walked and walked and couldn’t find the main area to donate them when we stumbled upon a side entrance for a church and ended up at the rectory. We were greeted by this priest who said, "are these the rosaries that we were waiting for?" We had no idea what he was talking about and said, um…yes? He said he was so happy to have them and that he would make sure that they were distributed amongst the workers and that HE felt blessed that we gave them to him. You can’t make this stuff up.
Then came the trips together. The family skiing trips to Snowshoe and our trips to Marco Island. Boy could we drink, I mean talk and talk until the sun came up. Did we ever have not have something to say?
Then like all true friendships, ours was tested. What seemed like forever, we didn’t talk as much and too much time went by. Again, it seemed like we both at the same time knew it was time to talk it out. If we wanted this friendship it was time we made it work. And we did. So yeah, we’re back to where we were with talking every day and going to the beach and those coffee breaks at Starbucks. Then you meet me for lunch and with this grin, tell me you’re moving out of state. What? You can’t leave me. But, I knew what you were going through and what you needed most was a friend. Someone who understood the pressures of moving your family from one state to another!
Well, that Saturday came and Billy and I went over to your house to “help pack” but in reality, it was to say good bye. Billy was great to give us some space after he bent down to hug you and then it was my turn. My eyes still tear up thinking about how I just didn’t want to let you go. Why does it make it easier to just say, “call me later - ok?”
Thank you again for allowing me to officiate your wedding renewal vows ceremony. What an honor and pleasure it was. It also was a great party to remember and a send off that no one will soon forget.
￼ Now, my Maria tells me, “with Liz gone, I know someone you could be best friends with!” I was a bit confused and thought, she just wants me to have our friendship here and now in Florida, but what she doesn't understand is that you are and always will be my best friend whether you're here or not. I miss and love you my friend and you know - I'll call you later.
All my love,