I’m getting married in two weeks, if you can believe that. (I cannot.)
I was going to write about that. About how we’re getting married in Florida and I hope there’s not a hurricane and I’m sad because some people won’t be able to make it but excited for the people that are and I like my dress a lot and there will be a candy buffet but.
My best friend Alayna’s mom got sick a few weeks ago. She went to the doctor thinking she had pneumonia and was given a diagnosis of cancer which was…unexpected. And we thought she’d be alright until we realized she wouldn’t be and about a month after she went into the hospital, she passed away.
She was in her early 50’s.
And my sweet best friend no longer has a living mom.
That’s a crazy thing for my mind and heart to process, particularly as I’m immersed in planning a wedding and all that goes with it. It’s been such a haunting reminder as I dwell on little things like what to wear and what kind of flowers I want, the presence of my mother and the history of our relationship. That mother-daughter dynamic, still there like I’m a teenager, wanting her to go away and leave me alone, I’m all grown up and yet reaching for her hand and wishing she was there and needing her advice.
I have been concentrating on being a sounding board for Alayna, the strongest lady you could ever know who was brave about all of it and who took care of everyone around her and who has a little notebook of all the things she talked about with her mom in those last few final days.
I didn’t spend a lot of time with Miss Cay in person but because I knew Alayna so well, I felt like I saw her every day. (And she read my blog sometimes which always tickled me.) I knew the way she lived her life, joyful with a strong faith in God, surrounded by a strong tight knit community who adored her. When she faced death, she was at peace and full of love and she planned out her services and declared no crying and wanted no funeral but a potluck picnic in the park instead with happy singing of songs and balloons being released into the air for her.
So that’s what everyone did.
She died last Saturday afternoon and when I found out, I grabbed my phone and some headphones and I went out for a walk. It was a gorgeous New York City summer evening and I walked and walked until I was tired of walking and thinking and feeling and I sat on a bench by the water in my neighborhood looking at the sky.
The sun was getting ready to set hiding behind the clouds that hovered all over the skyline. I imagined Alayna’s mom up there, floating, singing a church hymn, snapping her fingers. And just as I was trying to decide which exact cloud Miss Cay was hanging out on, the sun burst through and shone so brightly I knew the answer.
She was everywhere.