Saying Goodbye

Christina and I have been best friends for 23 years. She lived in the house across the street when we moved to NJ. Her stepmom and my mom vaguely knew each other from years ago, and we were around the same age, so they thought we would make good friends. I remember the first time we met: my mom sent me over there and Chris and I just sat on her front steps looking at each other and giggling. We didn’t say a single word, but we were pretty much inseparable after that.

We hung out just about everyday after school, playing video games or making up crazy games or jumping rope or whatever. It didn’t matter what we were doing, we always had a great time and a lot of laughs. On the weekends, we would have sleepovers and try to stay up as late as possible without getting caught – we were rarely successful and almost always got shushed and told to go to sleep.

She is a year older than me, and towards the end of her 8th grade year, her family moved away – just 30 minutes south, but it was a huge adjustment. Now instead of seeing each other everyday, we had to talk on the phone. We spent HOURS on the phone, usually on three-way with someone, gossiping and laughing about whatever happened that day. We still had sleepovers on the weekends, and the good part was that they usually lasted from Friday to Sunday now that it was a bit of a drive for our parents to drop us off.

During the summers, she would come camping with us and we would go for hikes, swim in the pond, and sit around the fire at night making s’mores. There was a little country store right outside of the campground that sold penny candy, and we would walk down there with a dollar and come back with bags of candy. She spent part of the summers in the Poconos with her mom, and I would spend a week or two up there with her and her other best friend, Christy. The three of us would drive around aimlessly blasting music, or we would spend the day at the clubhouse eating cheese fries and playing in the pool. I remember helping Christy’s family move into their new house, and I remember showing her cousin from Puerto Rico around.

Christina and I never went to the same school until we got to college. We were able to finally take a class together: Ethics. It was so awesome being in class together and seeing each other on a regular basis again. We continued to have our sleepovers, although they were less frequent since we were both busy with school and work and boyfriends.

Tomorrow night is our very last sleepover. It’s hard to believe because this is not how I imagined life to be. We were supposed to grow up and be in each other’s weddings and be Godmother to each other’s kids. Our kids were going to become best friends and our families would spend holidays and birthdays and vacations together. We were supposed to be best friends forever. I have to say goodbye to her this weekend and I don’t know if I can do it. How do you say goodbye to the girl who’s been your sister for all this time?

I’m so angry about the whole thing because she doesn’t deserve to suffer the way she has been for the past 6 years. It’s bad enough she’s had to deal with being paralyzed, but why has she had to deal with all the illnesses and extra stuff? I don’t understand it at all. She is one of the best people I know, and doesn’t deserve any of it. I would take her place in a second to allow her the opportunity to live out her dreams, but I guess it’s not meant to be.

As much as I don’t want her to suffer, I don’t want to lose her either. It’s not fair. Call me selfish, but I want her around for everything that is yet to come. I already have to deal with the fact that my mom won’t be here for anything, and now my best friend won’t either. Everything has felt kind of empty since I lost my mom, like things aren’t nearly as exciting or special because she doesn’t know about them or experience them with me, and now it feels like that is just going to be intensified. Part of me has already mourned Christina because everything changed after her accident – we took on a new kind of friendship completely different than anything before that. But now she’ll just be GONE and I don’t know how to accept that.

I can’t believe it’s really happening. I can’t believe I’m right back to where I was last year, sitting around waiting for a phone call. Waiting to say goodbye. I’m actually really scared about how I’m going to handle it when she finally passes because as it is I feel like I’m only seconds away from a nervous breakdown. I know I have a good support system and I’ll get through this with their help, but it’s going to be so so hard. It feels like life has changed permanently since my mom passed and it just keeps getting worse. I worry if this is it – this is what life is going to be like from now on. I’ve been so blessed, but lately it feels like nothing is going right and it’s all just going to continue going downhill.

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When It Rains, It Pours (Literally)

Last Saturday, my husband and I each packed a suitcase and headed over to my parents’ house to spend the night because of the impending hurricane. Before we left, we picked up all of the expensive electronic equipment (computer, DVDs, video games, etc.) from the floor and/or low shelves. We had been told by our neighbor that our apartment and his were completely flooded out by the last hurricane that came through the area back in 1999. We expected to get some water, maybe around the back door, so we moved everything away from that area, grabbed the cat, and headed out.

We really thought we got away unscathed because the storm really didn’t seem that bad where we were. There was a lot of wind and rain, but we didn’t lose power and no trees came down that we could see. Watching the coverage on TV and looking at pictures online painted a very different picture, but we still decided to head home around 4pm and see how our apartment fared. The normally 20 minute drive took us close to an hour because we kept getting re-routed around fallen trees and flooded roads. When we got into our complex, we couldn’t drive in very far because the road was flooded. I had my husband park, and I walked over to our section. I got as close as I could and saw that the grass behind our building was there (as opposed to a giant lake), and our neighbor’s car was there. The parking lot and street in front of our section were completely flooded out, but the water wasn’t anywhere near our front door. Relieved, I walked back to the car and told my husband the good news. We started driving away, but he had this feeling that we should really try to actually get into the apartment to make sure everything was ok. We parked and made our way around the water and over to our building. There was water and garbage in the back, but it didn’t look to bad. We opened the front door, and immediately we noticed that the carpet in the foyer was wet. When we walked into our apartment, the water squished up over our shoes as we walked around. There were water marks on everything, about 6-8 inches high.

Our couches, which were a wedding gift from my in-laws, were completely ruined. Our bookcases were soaked and splitting at the bottom. There was mud and water all over the kitchen. Further inspection showed us that water had actually gotten into the cabinets and all over our pots and pans. I pulled out Tupperware containers full of river/sewer water and dirt. The normally white bathroom floor tile was stained brown and there was still about half an inch of water in there. All of the stuff in our bedroom closet on the floor was ruined, including part of my wedding dress. We had two old TVs in there, and when I lifted them up, water actually poured out of them. The same thing happened with our lamps. The clothes in the hamper were soaked through and there was a puddle of dirty water sitting in the bottom. Our box spring and mattress were destroyed because they were sitting directly on the carpet.

We were initially told by management that they would suck the water out of the carpets and then shampoo them. That’s it. Since we decided that was unacceptable, we started moving our things out and into my parents’ house. Someone from the office finally came to see our place on Tuesday afternoon after the carpet guy said there was no way he could just clean our carpet – the damage was too extensive and the base boards and walls would start to mold and rot (although the management had previously assured me that “wood doesn’t mold”). It was at that point that she saw everything that she admitted the whole place had to be renovated. She offered us another unit, but the only ones available were others that took on water. Why would we want to move from one flooded apartment to another?! We said we’d rather just move out, and she agreed to let us break our lease without penalty and we don’t even have to repaint the walls or clean. We’re all moved out, utilities are shut off, and after a lot of hard work and help, we’re moved into my old room. Our stuff is spread out through my room, the basement, the garage, and the spare room, but it’s all here. My dad has offered to let us stay with him as long as we need to until we can find a house.

W started house hunting again yesterday. We saw three houses and really liked one of them. We also went to three open houses today and although the houses were all nice, we didn’t love any of them. We’re working with a different realtor from last time, so we’ll see what else she comes up with and hopefully have a new home somewhat soon. We don’t want to impose on my dad (although he assures us we’re not) and we’re also not used to living with anyone else. We got very used to having our own place and our own routines. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but it’s working.

I’m trying to remind myself that it could be a lot worse. Although our insurance won’t cover anything because we didn’t have flood insurance, at least we have a place to stay and none of us were hurt. We could be stuck in a hotel and have to pay to put our stuff in storage. We could have lost everything. The only things we lost that can’t be replaced are cards from our wedding, and a bunch of cards and letters that I’ve given to him throughout the years. I dried them all out and I think I’ll take pictures of everything and then dump it all before it gets moldy and gross.

This just feels like one more thing on top of everything else. At church today, our pastor made the comment that the Lord is really testing our patience lately, and he’s right. I just don’t understand why. I have been so blessed, up until last year when it feels like everything just went to hell. Now it feels like nothing is going right and things just keep getting worse. I’m not sure how much more i can handle before I just have a complete breakdown.

My 30th birthday is next week, the same day as the tenth anniversary of September 11th. It’s my first birthday without my mom, probably my last birthday with my best friend, and also a year since I really knew my mom was going to die. Before my mom was diagnosed and all this other stuff happened, I was pretty excited about turning 30. I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and celebrate with family and friends. Now? I’m just not interested at all. My husband is being super sweet and trying to plan something fun and memorable for me, for which I am so grateful (he really is the best), but I just wish none of this bad stuff had happened so I could be truly happy about it.