This morning, a neighbor of mine sent me a picture from five years ago of us with three other moms at a fun event for my 11 year old at the time (who is almost 16). I adore these moms and their sons who had all been friends since Kindergarten. We are happy; it was a lovely time. Three years after that event we took similar pictures, the same great group of moms and boys, when they graduated eighth grade. We were still happy, despite the normal worries and occasional troubles; it was a lovely time.
In some ways, it feels like yesterday; in other ways, it seems a lifetime ago.
There won’t be another picture of us all together. One mom was killed eighteen months ago in a senseless act of violence. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t miss her welcoming, generous personality.
The boys, young men now, have gone off to different high schools. They keep in touch through social media but the dynamic has changed.
I don’t recognize myself in the picture. The effortless way I stand shoulder to shoulder enjoying the company of friends showed a woman pretty sure of herself; I had not yet experienced betrayal of my own. I see innocence in my eyes and smile that truly didn’t understand death, loss, creativity, heartache, disappointment, ambition, dreams, stress, hope, loneliness, appreciation, depression, want, friendship, strength, worry, perseverance, goals, forgiveness (still trying on that one) and love.
I thought I knew these things but I didn’t.
Although K’s death puts my problems in perspective, I’m not sure I’ll ever move past betrayal. It has taught me a great deal but I would give up those lessons to run back to the days of feeling unblemished, at ease and confident of my place in the world. That is why I write.
Why do you write?