Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
Unfortunately for me it was gradual... after she was gone the loss of her friendship taught me better.
In this very blog I used to wish to find someone to train and race with. Someone my speed. A few months later I got an email from Elysha. I think the first sentence read something like, "Really, I'm not a stalker..." It was like my call was manifested! She was around my age and even lived in the same town as me. Of all the people on the Internet with a blog, she found me.
And anyway, she had me at "I'm not a stalker." :)
Our friendship grew close fast. We had soooo much in common, it was pretty darned freaky. She even had RNY also! She was like a long-lost Sister to me in many ways. We each suffered through some huge challenges in our lives and I think that made for a common bond which gave us quick comfort with one another. Our families spent time together, we biked together, trained together and tri'd together. We both subscribed to the belief that there's nothing you can't do without trying and believing you can. You just make a choice to do whatever it is, and do it.
We went on countless road trips to races and did the MS150 -- err, ummm, MS75 (the year we did it together, because of the first day being rained out). Elysha was constantly reminding everyone not to take things so seriously. Life is meant to have fun! She knew how to have fun, and even more importantly, completely understood the value. Not everyone *gets* it, you know?
Tragically in May of this past year Elysha passed away in a freak accident while tending to her Dad's yard. I felt like a part of me died that day along with her; as did many of her friends and loved ones. There are still days when I will see something, do something that reminds me of her and I get weepy. Like right now. (dang it!). It goes without saying that whenever I race, she's with me. If there's a smile on my face, it's because she put it there. I've thought about and talked to her during races, and it lightens me up and I remember to have fun. Live every day like you have no clue what tomorrow will bring.
The morning she passed away she had texted me, to ask me how my race went. I didn't respond because I would have been rushed. Who knew she wouldn't be there later that very day? All I needed to do was stop for a moment and respond to her thoughtfulness to text me.This is why I want to make sure I honor the treasured friendships I have, because you just never know when things will change. Elysha was a great role model when it came to friendships and loving. She was, in a word, amazing.
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