Day 188/365 Karen (aka Goob)

Yesterday I wanted to honor a dear friend on her birthday.  However as I explained in my last entry, something else was occupying my thoughts, and I had a hard time focusing on anything else.  So, today is for Karen (aka Goob).

Karen is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Though we met in middle school, we became devoted friends a few years later, in high school.  This was, of course, quite some time ago, but when I see her smile and hear her laughter, I makes it seem like yesterday.

Neither of us like to talk on the phone, and although we live only a half hour apart, our family and work schedules have made it challenging over the past ten years or so to get together as often as we would like. So, we sometimes go long stretches on time without seeing or even speaking to one another.

We’ve made new friendships with people in our personal life-orbits, other women whose children play often with our own, our to whom we live closer…but our bond remains unchanged.

We never seem to allow the space between us to impact our friendship. Neither of us is ever keeping score about who reached out to whom last, or more often.  We never take an extended silence personally. We always know we are good.

There is always love.

I think I understood she was my friend for life when, as my roommate, she silently endured an endless (and high volume) post-break up loop of Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughtta Know.”

“Does she know how you told me you’d hold me until you died…but you’re still alive!”

Oh, God bless her.

Bless her many times over, because she knows all of my secrets and has been witness to all of my heartbreaks…from the (now, in hindsight) clearly ridiculous ones to the truly painful.  Never did she tell me I was being ridiculous – she always waited for me to figure that out for myself (but she never pointed out that she knew all along).

Karen is one of the kindest, gentlest, most authentic people you could ever know.  She is so unassuming, and so generous. To know Karen is to love her. She is someone people instinctively know they can trust, and respect. My entire family adores her.

There is something so special about how Karen is able to hold space in a relationship.  She is an incredibly devoted and supportive friend, and she can make that known without ever being overbearing.  She quietly offers her love and support in a way that allows space. I know she will always be there if and when I need to lean on her, but she never takes offense if I choose not to do so. I aspire to be the same kind of friend for her.

Karen lost her mother (an amazing woman) to cancer about a decade ago. I think (I hope) I was a supportive friend through that. When my dad passed away, I finally understood the pain of losing a parent as BIG in her life as her mother had been to her (and my father had been to me). It is just something you can’t know until you know it. Still, I regret not having done more. I regret that deeply.

Goob, I hope you know how much I love you…and that I always will.

Happy (belated) birthday.