A best friend joys in your triumphs,
Shares in your sorrows and defeats,
Never lets you forget your value and worth,
And keeps your secrets close to her breast.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post regarding my best friend of 54 years, relating how easy it is to get caught up in your own life. Last Saturday, Douglas and I drove to see her in the rehab center where she was under hospice care. I am grateful today that we did, as she passed into her eternal home around 11:15 this morning.
How do you mourn the person who knew you best and for the longest time? I was fourteen years old and very enamored of the beautiful, well-dressed, and popular girl who lived across the street. I marveled at the number of friends she had. Surely, she didn’t know I existed!
Then, one day, she walks over and introduces herself, and I was amazed that someone like her would want me as a friend. To me, she was this giant personality. I thought of myself as the ugly duckling chosen to attend to the beautiful girl in the kingdom, just lucky to be in her presence.
But, when she knew that, she was appalled to think that I saw myself in such a lowly way. She chose me because she knew that I liked her not for what she could do for me, and that around me, she could be herself. We had something in common, and that was mothers who were alcoholics.
I understood the pain of a mother’s neglect and the desire to rescue our mothers from the ravages of the bottle. I also comprehended the embarrassment of a mother who drank alcohol, and for the most part, she kept that part of her life a secret from everyone but me.
The people who wanted to be her friends and profit from being in her orbit could not understand why she would associate with me. I had a nickname, “Little Monster,” which resulted in brutal days at school. She told me to ignore the jibes and know that I was special and beautiful!
She was the person who told me that I would someday meet a man with my intellectual abilities and who loved to travel like me, that he would be a white male, and that I should wait for him to come into my life. She said that I would continue to be hurt until I just waited on the Lord to send this enigmatic white guy.
But, I would argue, “It takes a black man to understand a black woman.” That was my belief, and nothing she said could change my mind. Then, God intervened, and when Douglas came into my life, Tricia was so happy. She never stopped reminding me that she had predicted my happiness. We laughed about that a lot in the last few years.
She loved Douglas, and constantly thanked him for making me happy! We had planned to travel to Europe someday together, as I wanted her to see her dreams fulfilled to visit European capitals, but it was not meant to be.
She joyed in my triumphs. I think she was more proud of me than I was of myself. She would say with such pride and joy, “You are Reverend Dr. Regina, and all the taunting and heartache of your youth didn’t break you!”
What a gift she was to me and to the world! My heart hurts so much, but when I saw her the other day, my prayer was that God would not let her suffer long in such a state! Thank you, Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer! She is suffering no more!
For more than fifty years, I knew that she was one phone call away, but no more. Rest, beautiful princess, in the arms of Almighty God! The world is a little dimmer today! You were so loved and needed!