Normally on this blog I strive to be witty and lighthearted, and on St. Patrick’s Day of all days you’d think I could find some great fodder for blogging. I enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, I like dressing up in green and drinking beer and hanging out with people I love, making great memories. But I think it’s apropos to spend one good blog refraining from wit and sarcasm to tell you about my most important St. Patrick’s Day.
In March 2009, a friend of mine called to say she was back in town and she wanted to meet for drinks. I hadn’t seen her in almost a year and I was thrilled to hear from her. We agreed to meet at noon on St. Patrick’s Day, she and her fiancée and I, but I got waylaid by some grading I couldn’t escape and I had to meet up with them later that afternoon. I hated having to delay but when I arrived they were waiting pleasantly, not bothered at all, and we had a fantastic afternoon and evening together catching up. I told her that I’d just finished the first draft of my first novel, I explained what it was about and what I planned to do with it. At that point I was still very scared of my writing and what people thought of my writing, and I told very few people about it. I told them. And in perfect character, my friend was hugely supportive and encouraged me to pursue it. I don’t know that she understood just how inspiring that support was for me.
That St. Patrick’s Day turned out to be the last time I saw her alive, and I couldn’t have asked for a better last memory. The world lost a light the day she died. She was a wonderful, caring, beautiful soul and I feel humbled and honored to have known her. I feel very small when I think of her, when I think of how profoundly she moved everyone she met and how deeply all those who knew her loved her. She had a strength of character that I wish I was good enough to emulate. I regret failing to show her how much I appreciated her while she was alive.
Since 2009 St. Patrick’s Day has a different connotation for me, and I feel the need to raise a glass to her and reflect on how best to walk in her footsteps, to be the better person she was and I want to be. I want to make sure I follow through on the things I told her I would do, and two years later I’m finally moving beyond my own shortcomings and starting to do it. This year’s going to be different, I can feel it.
I’m thinking of you today. Wish you were here.