I am going to start this off with a confession. Way back in the very early days of our friendship, you missed my birthday party. I don’t know why you missed it. I am sure you had a perfectly good reason but at the time, I was so mad at you. I didn’t tell you I was mad at you but Bryon definitely heard about it and he was so annoyed at me. I have a tendency to hold onto anger. It’s not one of my more endearing qualities. (How fitting that I am talking about my Irish stubbornness on St. Patrick’s Day?) I held onto this anger until Bryon invited you and your boyfriend, now your husband, over to our place to watch a televised Siena game and I decided I was not mad at you anymore.
I am not sharing this story to try to make you feel bad. If anything, I am hoping you are laughing at what an idiot I am. I am sharing this story to demonstrate that because my own stubbornness, I could have easily missed out on of the best friendships in my life. I want everyone that is reading this to learn that lesson and to not be like me.
Through the years, we became good friends. You gave me a wedding planner when Bryon and I got engaged. We were at each others bridal showers and weddings. You held my daughter when she was a baby. We attended Siena games together. We went on double dates, one of which involved dueling pianos and an interesting rendition to the classic “Joy to the World”.
You were present at some of my funniest memories of Bryon. I wish you could have seen the look on your face when Bryon walked out of your wedding with a six pack of Sam Adams Oktoberfest. And remember that time when we were playing Cards Against Humanity and there was the incident with the Chinese food? And of course the infamous Christmas Eve Mass where we broke the pew after Communion and Bryon said “We need Jesus the carpenter, not Jesus the baby” and then Bryon marched up to the altar with the long piece of the broken pew over his shoulder, explaining it all to Father Bradley who wasn’t phased at all.
Bryon and I were saddened by your father’s death and attended your father’s funeral. We were sad that we didn’t get to know your father. We heard the stories and realized that we missed out on knowing a great man. Maybe they are getting to know each other now. I remember Bryon and I discussing how your father’s death was significant because we didn’t have many friends who have lost parents. Most of us had lost grandparents but a parent’s death was different because it was one generation closer to us and therefore it made our own mortality seem closer. That conversation gives me the chills now.
None of us were prepared for what was going to happen. But through those five months of hell, you were there for me the whole time. I am crying as I type this because I don’t know what I would have done without you. You just seemed to instinctively know what I needed, when I needed it. Whether it was baby-sitting my daughter, or an iced coffee, or nachos or just someone to sit with me. You would sit with Bryon when I was too afraid to leave him alone so I could run home and take a shower. You kept my spirits up which was important because I needed that hope to get through those months. You also rallied the troops when you organized the “Double Miracle for Bryon” campaign.
You and your husband were the first people to come over to my house the day Bryon died. You told people to bring food. The rest of those days are a fog in my memory but I know you were present. And when the crowd thinned out, you stayed. You assured me that Bryon is still around and will always be around. You still come over for #tacotuesday. We brunch with the ladies. You cleaned my kitchen and because of you, I can see my backsplash and all my tupperware has lids that match. You have even offered to help me purge my house and have a yard sale.
Christmas Eve was not the same this year but we started our new tradition of Feliz Navidad Lunch and then we visited Bryon’s grave. And instead of a broken pew at Mass, we had an epic toddler meltdown. I don’t know which was worse…
Even though Bryon has been dead for almost seven months, you continue to be there for me. You have taught me what it means to be there for people and how to be a good friend. I aspire to be like you. It’s crazy to think that we are friends because our husbands lived together during college. And if Bryon were still alive, we wouldn’t be as close as we are today but your friendship is one of the biggest gifts Bryon could have given me.
Happy Birthday my dear friend. I love you.