January 15, 2010

Dancing Days

Friday Photo Flashback

Today I am joining Alicia at More Than Words in her Friday Flashback. I have always wanted to join in this. I have boxes and albums full of pictures that evoke wonderful memories. In our busy picture taking life, I rarely find time to sit and enjoy them, even though we frequently say, "Do you remember...?" Often someone replies with, "There is a great photo of that somewhere."

Actually, I didn't intend to do this meme today even. Truth is, writing is therapy for me. Which is why I suppose blogging is such an enjoyable past time. In thinking about the loss of Anita, my friend I told you about on New Year's Eve, my head was swirling with thousands of thoughts of the whys and how and it could have beens... the memories of our 14 years as friends... the what happens nows? I couldn't think straight or move ahead.

Her death was the greatest shock of my life with the exception of my 21 year old cousins death a few years ago, and he had a long history of heroine addiction, so even that was not really a surprise.

In order to clear my mind, I finally started writing. And I wrote and I wrote. About the way God brought her to my life. About the friend she had become. About the void she filled that my mother left when she packed her bags when I was a teenager.

I wrote about all the things we had in common... which was just about everything. Silly little things like how we keep the windows open on the hottest of days because we couldn't stand to not feel the fresh air and hear the outdoors. And the more eternal things such as how our families are everything to us.

I wrote about how we laughed together, cried together, held each other up and encouraged each other. I tried to convey how she touched, not just my life, but the life of everyone who knew her in a beautiful way.

I even told the story of her heartbreaking funeral attended by what seemed to be 500 mourners and how hopeless it all was. The one thing we never shared, the only thing we didn't have in common, the only thing we disagreed about in 14 years, was what we believed about God. Anita was a Jehovah's Witness. Even though I shared with her the God of the Bible, the God who saves, she never put her trust in the Lord Jesus. Her family held no hope for Heaven.

For hours and hours I wrote and laughed and cried at the memories and tragedy of it all. It was good therapy. But I was extremely emotional by the end.

You would not believe what happened next. One of my kids asked to borrow my computer. When they gave it back, the whole thing was gone. All but the short introduction I had written a week earlier. I was so upset. Unreasonably so. I even yelled at the poor child, who did not do it on purpose. For which I repented. Not that saying I am sorry made it right. But maybe you get the idea, that the last few weeks have been difficult for me.

Putting it on "paper" is a release for me. I was so relieved to do honour for the woman who blessed me so much. Someone who the speaker talked only three minutes about in his eulogy. After 56 years of serving everyone around her, she got just three minutes! And now my effort was gone, too.

What more can I say? I could not invest any more to write it again. And once you've written from the heart, can you even do it again?

All that is just to say, that I decided this would be the ideal time to get into the Friday Flashback that I have been wanting to do for so long. It would be a way to introduce you to someone I loved without having to lay it all on the line again. Brianna helped me by digging through the boxes of old photos under the stairs and found this picture of Anita and I in our tap dancing days. She is the one on the far left and I am on the far right. This was 2001.

Anita and I met when her 5th born and my KK were 4 and 3 and started together in the same dancing class. We sat for years and watched them practice twice a week, always talking about how much fun it would be. Finally, after four years, we were teasing their instructor about it (Denise is the one next to me) and she said well why don't you. Let's form a class. And we did. The mom's class. We had so much fun! Denise was always talking about recital and we were firm about not dancing in any recital. Somehow when it rolled around that Spring we were putting on our shimmery costumes and tapping our way across the stage. We continued for a number of years and Kim even joined us our last year out.

One more thing before I go... earlier this year, Anita and her family moved to Florida. In fact, when she had her heart attack they had stopped over in North Carolina to visit one of their sons and daughter-in-law on their way back to Maryland to settle on their house here. When she told me she was moving, I was heartbroken. But the Lord uses everything for good. At that time, I took the opportunity to tell her what she had been to me over the years. How she had invested in my life and my family. How much a part she had in making me the mother I am. Had they not moved, I very much doubt I would have had made the time to say so much.

In fact the day after she died, I found two emails from her that had been buried in my in box during my time in Italy. I had never even read them. Don't be mistaken that I feel guilty over this or anything like that, there were 300 emails from those two weeks I was away, not to mention several hundred from my vacation a few weeks prior. There was no way I could have read them all nor answered them all in the many things that were happening when I returned. Anita understood such things more than even I.

But the point I want to make here is quite simple. In today's society we have more ways to keep in touch than ever before... blogging, twitter, email, land lines, slow mail, cell phones and even text... yet, when was the last time you used one of them to share with someone you love how much they mean to you?

What are you waiting for? Close this page and use one of those great communication tools to make sure someone you love doesn't leave this world without hearing of the Lord's salvation and knowing that they have touched your life and what they mean to you.

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14


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11 comments :

  1. Oh my goodness, I had no idea about your friends passing recently. I'm so sorry to hear that. Just by reading your post, I can tell how much she meant to you in all your years of knowing her. It's obvious you had a special friendship. God works everything out for good, so who knows, maybe one of her family members will get saved from this.

    Thank you for sharing about Anita. This was beautiful. And, thank you for the reminder about letting the people in our lives know how much they mean to us. Tomorrow is not promised to us.

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  2. I completely understand how writing releases so much emotions and allows you to heal. The message is so simple here...reach out to those you love while you still have time. We just never know.

    Once again I am sorry for your loss.

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  3. What a blessing to have had a friend like Anita.I pray for comfort and peace.

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  4. So sorry about your friend, but what a great post this was in honor of her! That picture is adorable and I'm sure will forever be priceless to you. Have a good weekend and glad you joined in ~ ♥

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  5. Dear Kat,

    First off, I'm new here too. I decided to join to share some special memories as well.

    This was just the most tender heartfelt tribute to your friend Anita.

    It's so touching to read how much she meant to you and your family.

    Although you didn't share Jesus, God truly used her in your life. She sounded like one very special woman.

    Thanks for sharing the memories with us. One day you will have the opportunity to be a Titus 2 woman for someone else.

    Blessings to you and your family. I'm so sorry about this loss♥

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  6. seems as you did a wonderful tribute here to your friend. So special. You are a very talented writer. I read the whole thing! I was rivited.

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I too have a JW friend who has actually closed herself off to me after I shared with her that she needed to make a choice for God. (after many years of witnessing) She then joined the JWs. I am still very burdened about this. I may just do what you said though and call her. Thank you for sharing!

    Your children are beautiful! Love your blog!

    Dani Joy

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  7. I use emails a lot! Sorry about your dear friend. I love the photo.


    Way back in 90's

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  8. Mom,
    What a wonderful tribute. She was a very special friend and was lucky to have you as a friend.

    You have such a way with writing your thoughts...why didn't you pass the DNA to me again?;)

    Love ya,

    Nana

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  9. I'm so sorry about your friend. That was a beautiful tribute.

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  10. Thanks for the follow. I'm now following your lovely blog.

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  11. Sorry to hear about your friend, Anita.

    Me too, I found solace in writing my thoughts and blogging has helped me in a lot of ways.

    But I want to tell you this is a very beautiful photo. Just like the Supremes, plus 1!

    Thanks for the visit and have a great weekend.

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