Today I am missing her. It is her birthday and I will always think of her on Boxing Day. She would have been 39. When she visits me in my dreams, she is the girl I knew and loved before her illness ravaged her healthy body. Her hair flows, her stance is strong and athletic, skin golden, voice assertive but girlish sweet.
I can't help but think of the phone call I received from her. The "what-if" phone call that filled the air with such worry and fear. The futile attempt I made to conceal my own fears for her. Did I offer her any ounce of comfort when she reached out to me? Our fears became reality hours later when the doctor delivered the news to her. She would suffer the same fate as her mother who left her when she was nineteen year young. Much too young to have to navigate life without a mother, but she did. She fared well and made a good life for herself.
College student. Athlete. Dancer. Dedicated employee. Highschool sweetheart romance and marriage. Young and vibrant mom to three beautiful children. I was elected to be one of her labour coaches and witnessed the birth of her firstborn child. She made childbirth seem like a sinch and soon after delivery, she was walking around like she was ready for the volleyball court! An entrepreneur at heart, she followed her passion and created a huge beach volleyball league in Hamilton. She went from pulling together a few teams to quench her love for volleyball and played all summer long! Eventually, she couldn't keep up with over 400 members, sourcing help from friends to keep beach volleyball alive on the Hamilton beachstrip!
A simulataneous grin came upon my face as my thoughts danced back and forth to the sweetest memories I have of her. The very first time we met- 14. She was a rebellious teenager with a look of innocence to her. A crinkled nose when she laughed. The curliest hair. Ever. She looked like an older version of Shirley Temple. A giggle that resembled cookie monster and it could make you laugh for hours. In fact, I laughed the same way in her presence and were mocked about it. A feist in her that could stand up to anyone and I was the friend who provided the voice of reason. She actually listened to me when she wouldn't to most. We spent many long beautiful summers together. We ran the camp store and offered dancing lessons to those smaller kids who thought we had the moves! We delighted in their idolizations of us.
I wish we had more time on this earth together to grow into really old friends but my heart feels happy to know these memories will reside with me forever.
Peace to you Boxing Day Baby-- Leah. I miss our giggle fests. xoxoxo