I wrote this story five years ago, but am reposting it today in honor of my friend. This story changed the trajectory of my life and will always be a catalyst for why I give my life to love others. When you look into the eyes of a stranger, you never know what story you are seeing. Treat people with all the grace and mercy you can muster. Be blessed!
I was born a twin…OK, I wasn’t, but it seemed like it. Just nine days after I was born, my next door neighbor gave birth to a little girl. Robin and I became friends just like our mothers were. We spent everyday together growing up. All of my childhood memories include her. We laughed, fought, and forgave quickly, just like sisters, for the first eight years of our lives.
It was Robin who convinced me to play doctor and put super glue eyedrops in her eyes. Oops. It was Robin who hit me over the head with a toy that left a dent in my forehead. It was Robin who made me “marry” Jake from down the street. It was always Robin in every story…
But when we were eight her parents divorced and her dad kept the house. Robin moved around the block with her mom. It was devastating for all of us, but thankfully we were able to walk back and forth to continue our friendship.
However, 29 years ago on December 28, is a day that changed our friendship and our lives forever. Robin’s mother, suffering from depression, committed suicide. My memories of that day are horrific. In the midst of the chaos going on around us, we were left pretty much unattended. Nobody really worried about us because we were together. I remember my house being packed with people and it being very cold as the door was opened and shut many times over. The cold Montana air poured in with the people. Next door there was commotion going on and ambulances being called. I vividly remember going into my bathroom with Robin and watching out the window towards her old house. I remember watching her mother’s body, under a white sheet, being wheeled out.
As an eight year old, all of this was etched into my brain in this very surreal way. I am not sure what is reality and what is made up. What I know is that my best friend lost the future that she had intended on having that day. Nothing would ever be the same again.
The reason that I am taking the time to tell this story is because it shaped me in a way that nothing else has. I may have went through a tragedy of immense proportions, but Robin’s experience was inconceivable. And nearly a quarter of a century later, I can tell you that what I take from that day is a deep respect for the little girl who lost her mother. Although she went through the worst thing imaginable, she is a survivor. Today she is married, happy, healthy, and has beautiful kids. She recently left this comment on my blog…
You don’t realize how grateful I am to have your encouraging words each week. As for many this time of year is a difficult time. For us it is remembering love ones that have been lost, finances, health, and life in general. It is so important to let yourself take time to remember each and everyday that God has a HEART and He will guide us. Struggles are a stepping stone in our lives, but it also makes us strong spiritually and faithfully. It is not a time of year to questions ones faith, but to live for it.
Robin, every year on this day, I remember you, and am encouraged once again. You made your own choices regardless of the foundation that you were given. You had every opportunity to let that day destroy you, but you didn’t. You are a shining example of what perseverance and determination can do in a person. Thank you for not questioning your faith, but living for it. I counsel people all of the time that are not sure they will make it through their situation. Your story gives me the confidence to know that God will always help those who call out to Him. I am thankful for our 37 year friendship and want you to know that I am very proud of the woman that you became. You are an inspiration to me and I love you very much.
And I’m really sorry about the super glue.