Monday, January 21, 2008

To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best. ~ William Thackeray

 My friend Sommer would have turned thirty-one today. Every night as I settle onto my pillow and prepare to sleep, I see her forever-teenage-face reflected in my now-thirty-year-old one. I keep a favorite picture of her framed over my side of the bed, so her giggly smile is always one of the last things I see each day. I have never thought of her as a "guardian angel."  To me, she remains "just" Sommer, "just" my best friend, "just" an awesome soul I have been blessed enough to love, but I am cannot help be comforted by the belief that she somehow still loves me and looks out for me. 
A Rod McKuen poem I found a few months after Sommer died still speaks to me tonight just as it did in the summer of '95:

"...And now I love you
and I live you as well
because of you
I am larger than myself 

I am as big as both of us
I live because I love you"

I would have preferred, of course, to have had a lifetime of "in-person time" together, but some people never have a Sommer in their lives at all, so I try to recognize my blessings as such and to be grateful for them. The older I get, the more often I look at that picture above my bed and find myself thinking, "My gosh! I got to love this giggly and sweet person! I got to be one of her friends! How awesome is that!" It is Sommer's birthday, but as the saying goes, her presence is my present. 


Rose said...

You were indeed blessed to have a friend who loved you. Many people come and go during our lifetimes and few become so close to us. Though I didn't know her, your words make me wish that I had. Happy Birthday, Sommer.

Val said...

Oh, Rose, thank you so much.

Tina said...

Val- I just read your Jan 21 posting and I am touched and it makes me feel (with tears in my eyes) that Sommer was so very blessed to have YOU in her life.

Val said...

Thank you, Tina. Som and I were just lucky to have each other. She's your sister, but the sister I never had. :)