There's not a single selfie of her and I on my camera roll. We weren't those kind of friends - not the kind who "hang out" on a regular basis or go to lunch. We met through our husbands when I was still just dating mine - about 11 years ago now. She was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, since she'd gotten pregnant with her daughter just months before. She had jokingly told me I needed to have one, too. I hadn't really meant to follow suit, but it happened, and I had no idea then how intermeshed our lives would end up.
I visited her in the hospital when both her youngest children were born, she was the first one to ever see my baby girl via ultrasound and I was who she called for reassurance when someone completely unqualified ridiculously told her they thought her middle son might have autism.
When I decided to quit my job and stay home to work on finishing my degree and open a home daycare, she signed up her youngest daughter post haste. So, at 10 months old I became sort of mom number 2 and formed about as close an attachment as you can with a child who isn't your very own. Jady was never threatened by that - not even when her only daughter started calling me "Momma" for a year or so. She'd just laugh and make jokes about it. And our daughters became more than friends; they're family.
This morning when I heard she was gone I cried for 3 hours and had to leave work. I felt kind of ridiculous for getting so upset. We weren't "best friends," after all. It took me the day to pinpoint my reasons for unraveling at the news. I looked back through my texts to see the last time we had talked. On Oct 2nd she had sent me pics of the girls on a train ride they'd invited my youngest to go on. On Oct. 13th she sent me a picture to show my mom. On Nov. 16th I sent her a picture I knew she'd think was hilarious because her sense of humor was like mine. On Nov. 30th I texted her about my daughter's birthday party this Sunday and she said they'd be there.
But, she won't be there. And that's why my heart is broken. Because for 11 years now we may not have been "best friends," but she's been a fixture in my life. She's been a running text conversation of shared laughs, pictures of our kids, and even some serious dialogue. We may not have done lunch but I'd go pick up her girl to come play and step in the house and commiserate about laundry and laugh with her. We would talk about when our girls start driving or when they graduate High School. It breaks my heart that she won't be there for those things. There are those people in your life who are just there kind of always in the background and you assume they'll always be there.
She was so genuine and so unique - you couldn't help but love Jady. One thing she knew about, though, was loss. She lived her life - especially when it came to her kids - knowing full well she wasn't promised tomorrow. We had that conversation more than once. We could all take a lesson from her life; she loved the people around her well and it's evident she has left a lasting impression on everyone who knew her. I don't know for sure how long it will take before the urge to text her something will pass. I don't even know how I could ever take her name out of my phone. I do know that today I'm going to take a page out of her book and hug my family close and know I'm not promised tomorrow.
Goodbye, beautiful Jady. Thank you for over a decade of laughter and thank you for sharing your daughter with me. I promise to always help take care of her for you just like I always have.