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Letting Go of Guilt

Today marks the halfway point of my 40 day journey to face my fears.  I have shared my fear of heights to fears for my children and today I am going to share probably my biggest fear.  Most of us have lost some one we love, and having to say goodbye is never easy.  For me it has left me incomplete, unable to reconnect with the feelings and the emotions I had before my best friend Frankie passed away. I allowed pain and guilt to convince me that I did not deserve to be happy and I feared letting go of it would mean letting go of Frankie.

I have had friends and most were what I could call a friend for a season.  The friends that touch our life for a short time, each precious but never a deep friendship, you know the kind where you feel like this friend has always been part of you.  One you can tell everything to.  The one person in your life that will tell you with brutal honesty when you are being an ass, and then 15 minutes later you would be laughing together over the whole thing.  The friend that would be there because they would “know” you needed them.  That was Frankie, my soul sister.

She came into my life because of my lavender plants… You see we knew a mutual person who had asked me if I would be willing to give some of my lavender cuttings to a woman who made homemade soaps with it.  I agreed and the rest is history.  It was like we had always known each other, we were instant friends.

Oh things we would do!  We started our own little paranormal group; we loved history and researching “hauntings”.  We loved the outdoors and being crafty, she had 4 kids and I had 3 and they were all close in age.  Her husband and I never really got along too great but Frankie never let him come between us.  You see their relationship was turbulent to put it mildly.  In fact, because of the stormy relationship Frankie came to stay with us, her and all 4 of the kids. My heart and home was so full of little ones, my best friend, laughter and love that time could have stopped there and I would have never complained.

After some time her husband apologized, made promises and she asked if he could come and stay at our home too.  Against my better judgment I agreed.  Who was I to stop her from working on her marriage?  For a while things went well, but then late at night I’d hear them fighting.  I would hear her crying and I cried with her.  How I wanted for her to be happy, this was her second marriage to another man who was abusive. She deserved so much more.

Then one day everything came crashing down…Frankie had cardiomyopathy and had doctor’s appointment all the time. This particular day she asked her husband to go with her and he told her no, he said her health problems were all in her head and he was tired of it and refused to go.  I sat there biting my tongue, oh how I wanted to claw his eyes out but I respected my friend so I remained silent.  Once her husband left, which was a whole 5 minutes after his cruel words she asked me to go with her, I did.  It was my hand she was holding when the doctor told her she had maybe a year to live without heart transplant.  I was the one who sat with her and cried as we watched the sunset over the lake that evening.  She made me promise that I would do all I could to help her marriage so her kids wouldn’t be torn apart, 3 of them had a different daddy who was no longer in their life.  I promised. She also spoke to me some very private words that I will keep to myself; they are my little treasure and were meant only for me. She was so beautiful and so brave. I was so selfish and sacred.

She was told that to make the transplant list she would have to lose weight that she was too heavy but they would schedule a pacemaker implant for her while she worked on her weight.  What a joke!  She was a 31 year old mom of 4, how angry this made me and how gracefully she took the news.  She never was angry.  This all happened weeks before her 32nd birthday June 15th, her birthday came and we celebrated.  She was so strong and it made her more beautiful to me.

The summer was filled with sweet memories, bonfires, crafts and learning as much as we could about spiritual paths.  The days went too fast and now they are my most prized memories.  She was scheduled to have her pacemaker implanted in August.  It was in August that the dreams that brought peace for Frankie started.  She told me her dad, who had passed away years ago, had come to her.  He told her everything would be alright, that she would not be alone he was there for her.  She told me she wasn’t afraid to die, and I told her not to talk like that.  She wasn’t going anywhere, she had kids to raise and we had plans.  She’d just smile and say let’s take the kids to the lake.

So for a week straight, we spent every day in the sunshine with all our kids.  I would sit on the beach and watch her playing with the kids; the sun sparkled on the water all around her.  She really had found a deep peace and she was radiant.  Those days are etched in my heart and mind.  I visit them often, they were her last days and she did not spend them crying and feeling sorry for herself, she spent them loving us.  I think she knew we would need those memories, so she showed us love and we spent those day laughing together, moms and best friends.

It was a Saturday, a warm summer morning in August, just 3 day before her surgery when Frankie left this world.  Her worst fears became my reality, her children where split up, her possessions sold off by her husband.  I could do nothing…

I lived the last 9 years with guilt and pain.  I felt like I let her down and I have carried these emotions in my heart as my punishment.  I guess I felt guilty that I didn’t speak up more for her children and that I allowed her things to be taken and sold… I failed her.  This is what I told myself.  I was mad and I deserved to hurt.  I needed something to be angry at for taking away my best friend, why not me?

Frankie would not see it this way, and the words we spoke in private on the day we watched the sunset over the lake lets me how much she loves me.  I let pain cloud those precious words.  I let guilt steal the love she left for me in the memories we created together. So today I am letting go of the pain and guilt.  My life was made better to have such a beautiful soul in it, one who called me her sister, her best friend.  I wish I would have found this peace sooner, so when I looked at her picture I could see the love there and not the pain I felt. Today, I still plant lavender in my garden for Frankie, and when the sweet fragrance fills the breeze it reminds me of days with her and her laughter fills my heart.