Miss Gertie used to say it to her 13-year-old daughter Christine and best friend growing up in a small town in the south of Louisiana. They’d fold their arms and knelt across the bed from one another. Talking about what teenagers talk about. First kisses, cars, life aspirations. Dreams of their first apartment together at the Pontalba house in New Orleans. Conversations would go on for hours, only to stop for Miss Gertie’s tea with a side of saltines and butter.
“If ya got one good friend in this life, ya lucky.”
That’s where it all began. My mom’s lifetime best friendship with Christine.
It wasn’t a surprise that this past Monday that there was not a dry eye amongst the congregation as mom read aloud the eulogy at Christine’s funeral. Unfolding their lifetime relationship. These ‘first’ conversations publicly praised to all that loved Christine probably for the first time.
A life that ended “too soon” as people say so commonly these days.
How was 43 years of friendship to be summarized in one small speech? How could you possibly say everything you’d want to say? These were the questions mom struggled with as she picked up the pen and started to write. Their friendship wasn’t something one could put into words. Countless memories, countless conversations, countless feelings. They made each other better. Partners in good crimes. Up at the altar, mom displayed a certain grace one would think would be similar to divine intervention.
For mom Christine was not a friend, but a sister. “Aunt Tine” was one extraordinary, loyal person. A mentor. A lover. A supporter. A believer.
One of the sweetest souls you’d hope to come across.
A friend you could only hope for your own child to have. A friend I would hope Holden can have.
I heard recently a line that I haven’t been able to shake. “We all have an expiration date.” Sounds terribly harsh, but it’s terribly true. It’s easy to live day-by-day making decisions as if we are invincible isn’t it? But it’s moments like this- having to watch mom profess her 43 years of friendship in a matter of 15 minutes, losing those closest to us, ones that lived and were always there- that remind us that of that exact fact. Kind of makes our “big” deals not seem like such “big deals” in reality.
Life is short, but sweet for certain.
Rest in peace, dear Christine.