To My Best Friend Diane On Her Birthday

DianeYou absolutely hate the spotlight being turned on you.  And I know when you see the post in Facebook, you will probably cringe and think… “Oh God, what did she say about me?”  And then you will probably read it twice.  :)

I fell in love with you the first time I met you.  Living in Pickering Ontario, I had placed my beautiful wedding dress on eBay because I am nothing if I am not practical.  There it was, sitting in a closet doing nothing which made no sense to me at all.  Even if I had a daughter someday, she’d want her own dress, and so I packed away my veil and my tiara for “someday” and listed the dress so that someone else could create a memory with it.

The dress you ordered was back ordered.  Surfing eBay about four weeks before your wedding, you saw my listing, in your own home town nonetheless, and contacted me to come over to my townhouse on Bayly St. to check it out.  And I thought nothing of it, except that I was going to have a few hundred bucks extra.

When you showed up at my door, I saw peace and gentleness, and patience on your face.  Daggers were constantly flying in my social and family life, and so to me, you were this graceful presence.  Rather than be apprehensive, I felt my shoulders drop immediately.  Your energy was… beyond delicious. I think I even stuttered a little more than usual because you were so gentle, and smart.  As we talked and your sarcasm began to emerge (politely) I was smitten, and I became worried less about how much to sell the dress for (…what dress?) and more about how I was going to get to know you.

I find most people terrifying, annoying or malicious.  And there was this unicorn in my living room, who immediately dropped on her knees to pet Diego and my cats, who swarmed her like she was bacon.  Diego hates everyone… he loved Diane within 15 seconds, which was a first… like, ever.  She bought the dress on the second visit, when she brought her Mom (who terrified me a little).   Mom’s terrify me in general though, and her pushy Chinese mom was such a stark contrast to her own demeanor that I got it, pretty much right away.   And could relate, although Diane’s mom is quite loving to her kids.

“Her house is like your house Diane, covered in animals and fur.”

“Mom… geeze…”

After the money exchanged hands and you went away (with your overly critical mom) I agonized.  I felt so strange because some of the same emotions were kicking in as they had as a single woman.  Do I just let her walk away?  I like her!  What do I do next?   And a few days later I sent you the most awkward email essentially asking you out on a “friend date” or “dog walk”.

Since that time, we have done so much together.  I have watched you chase your dream of living in a log cabin and owning 50 acres of woodlot, so that the elk and deer, and rabbits and birds surround you and Tyler in your peaceful sanctuary.  You know when I miss you so bad, I take a moment and close my eyes, and think of you staring out your picture window at the bird feeders, and filling all those different feeders with special seeds… or your excitement the first few times deer came up on your lawn to use the salt licks.  And my heart is back there with you, watching you thrive with the love of an amazing husband and your tranquil life.

I have prayed for you every time you told me about your follow up appointments for breast cancer.  Prayed until I thought I’d bust a brain cell because in knowing how many terribly, shitty people there are in the world, I asked God to protect you.  Because the world needs more Diane’s to be honest… and because I have only found such a small number of people as loving, steady, intelligent, gentle and strong as you are.

I want you to know that the 60km breast cancer walk truly almost killed me… and that as my sneakers filled up with blood and blisters, and as some of our other friends “copped out” on the last day, I was determined to do it with you.  I wanted to quit too and catch a ride in one of those mini-vans; throwing up banana and peanut butter crackers in the porta-potty was no bueno girl… but I knew what it meant to you.  I was going to walk over the finish line with you because I knew what it meant to you.

And I still have the shirt Diane, from that weekend.  I put it on when I miss you the most, and sleep in it sometimes.

You are so fucking smart! My God your brain is delicious, but where you get the patience for people I do not know.  But there you are, giving, sharing, the person that never forgets birthdays or birthday cards.  You are one of the best cooks I have ever seen (although seriously girl… you need to stop buying kitchen gadgets already… you own half of Kitchen Stuff Plus).  You love animals, plants and nature.  You are an amazing sister, Auntie, daughter and wife and a more patient, kind and steady friend than I have deserved at times.

When my world fell apart and we found out I couldn’t have babies… you were there.

When my marriage fell apart … you were there.

When I became single and moved into that over priced closet on Balliol Street… you were there.

Through all my single misadventures, starting my business, romantic misfires … and whenever I lost the plot… you were there.

And when they betrayed me and I had a day to pack my things and get out of the house I owned… you were there, pushing rubber maid containers into your car to store my things while politely fending off Scary Terri while we hauled my things to the driveway.

And that’s part of the reason why you are more than a best friend to me.  You live in one of the biggest parts of my heart like a sister and I love you so much.   I miss you every single day of my life.  Miss being able to take you dinner or take the dogs to the park.  Miss sitting in your kitchen and munching on things while you cook.  Miss watching you re-wash your dishes because you are fussy… (smile).    Now that I am at a point where I want to give you the world… I am so far away, and trying to figure out how to …. give back to you even half of what you have so lovingly given to me.

But here is where I can start.

For a woman that likes to be low key, I wanted you to know how much I love and appreciate you today and every day of my life.  Because when I have a moment to sit and count my blessings, you are at the top of my list.  One  of the greatest gifts God gave me, was your friendship.  And I hope today you hear all of this and understand what an incredible, amazing woman you are and know how much I love you.

Happy Birthday Di. I love you so so much…