Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Memory

A year ago today, my best friend’s mom passed away, completely unexpectedly.
Annika and her two girls - Lindsey and Kaia
It was very hard on Lindsey and her family, and the last year has been a long road for her. Among other things, she got married this year, without her mom by her side. (Though I'm pretty sure her mom was there, when a beautiful rainbow broke through the clouds right before the rehearsal!)
On a family vacation
I have been the best friend that I could be, and have tried to be there for her as much as I possibly can. It broke my heart seeing her in so much pain last year, knowing there was nothing I could do to take it away. I will never forget getting that phone call from her - hearing her say, "my mom died." Three short words that changed everything. While we were very close friends before that, and had been through a lot together, the last year has been a catalyst in our friendship. The minute she said those words, it was as if time stopped. I was fully prepared to drop everything to be by her side. Some of the strongest protective instincts I've ever felt kicked in over the next few days, and I wanted to shelter her from the world. If I could have actually pulled the pain out of her, I would have. I am, by nature, a "fixer," and this was the ultimate example of something I just could not fix. 

Lindsey has made me so incredibly proud, though – she has been strong for her family and herself, and stood tall in the face of something no 24-year-old girl should have to face. I know that she misses her mom terribly, and I know that she would like nothing more than to have one more day with her.
Lindsey & her mom before graduation at VT
When I asked Lindsey what she wanted to do today, she knew just the things: she wanted to do the things that her mom loved doing, and so we will be getting our nails done, going out to lunch, and maybe stopping by the mall. Annika loved the simple, girly things she got to do when spending time with her daughter, and I can't think of a better way to spend the day, remembering her. Lindsey did say that the only thing that could make today better would be if there was a craft show we could attend - and while I happily would have tagged along, I'm not sure that I'm upset about missing out on that! ha. I hope that my sweet friend will feel that she’s honoring her mom in just the right way. We miss you, Annika. You’d be proud of the woman your little girl has become in the last 12 months. I pray that you are somewhere beautiful and perfect. Rest peacefully.
Annika and Kaia
Annika S. Whittaker
April 17, 1960 - April 5, 2011

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