Another year has passed us by again. Time does not heal all wounds. Losing someone you love is something that you never forget. Tomorrow, January 28th, marks 9 years since Leigh died. I have been missing her terribly for 9 long years. Those first few months I tried to concentrate on our memories together. I didn’t want to forget her face, her smile, our good times, the feeling of being with her. I didn’t want to lose that with her. It is hard sometimes to think of those times without letting the sadness of losing her cloud the happy memory. I was talking to Joanne this morning via e-mail. We don’t talk often but these are the times that we need each other and one of us always reaches out to find the other one there. In talking with her, I realized something. I didn’t lose Leigh. I carry her with me everyday. She is with everyone she loved. I feel her closer to me now than I ever did when she was alive. I also gained the lifelong friendships of her friends. I know that no matter where life finds us, Leigh has bounds us together…forever. I took some time today to really let myself remember. Here is just a little bit of what I still carry with me. I encourage you all to add your own thoughts, if you like.
I still remember:
The way your smile could light up a room or my day with just one flash.
Your Fred Flintstone feet and how much you hated squeezing them into stilettos.
The way you would pop your head back to expose the inside of your nose and ask “Grevits?”
How much you loved your parents.
Laying in bed and talking about school, boys and life until the wee hours of morning.
Twin day when we dressed as tennis players and got Mike to wear a tennis skirt too!
Our first date/double date with the Dave’s.
Our mutual love of green M&M's Coming home to the smell of cookies and your mom asking how our day was.
Getting busted for missing curfew and holding “Family Meetings” to discuss our actions.
The hot tub fiasco that scared us both so much we searched the house with butcher knives.
When you were MC at the grade school talent show and I thought you had the coolest mom ever!
Your dad driving us to school at Barnwell, prepping us for the future the whole way.
Family dinners at Applebee’s, Wiliker’s and Vivian’s Vineyard, to name a few.
My 13th birthday when you and your parents took me to Noble Romans.
That first day of 7th grade drama class when I realized you were not the snot I thought you were in grade school.
Hippie day; that picture will live in infamy.
Our entire routine to Leader of the Pack, right down to your revving of the engine in the background. And that Duke of Earl was the next song on the CD!
Our Language class nicknames: Laughing Leigh and Talking Toni
The first time we smoked together.
Summer nights in Brooke’s convertible, just looking for trouble.
The night you got “lost” in the Vineyards with Aaron Zinc and I came home to the front door hanging wide open and your daddy patrolling the neighborhood.
The way your eyes turned clouded blue with crystals when you cried.
Your unbelievable insight on relationships and love.
The love that you shared with not just me but everyone around you.
Breaking into the Heritage pool after dark and skinny dipping with Mikey Kortkamp.
The “little holidays” that were so BIG with you around: St. Patrick’s, Valentine’s and Mardi Gras. You loved to celebrate anything.
The school plays, NightClub and drama class with Linder. He was the only teacher in our history together with enough balls to call home on us…EVER! “Perhaps it isn’t a good idea if the girls continue to live together AND have classes together”
School football games when you would ask me to tell you when to cheer because you didn’t get the rules of the game.
Countless 3-way calls on your speaker phone in junior high. I am pretty sure we solved some world issues there.
Playing video games with your mom on your favorite rug in your room before bed.
Countless boy situations that I will not give personal shout-outs on but we experienced them, dealt with them and got over them together. Thank you, Friend!
My 21st birthday, in the cage, at the Oz. And oh, the strippers that night!
I am so glad I have these photos. This cage dancing shot is one of my favorites ever! I am a stage and cage dancer to this day because of Leigh!
The night that you died, being with Meaghan and Nichole…knowing you somehow had something to do with that.
How much you loved your girls and in-turn, I loved them. Still do.
The comforts that you sent me in the days after you died, through people, events and overwhelming feelings of love.
The day you suggested that I just move into your house with you and your parents.
The conversation we had about my parents and how no matter what they had done, they are the only parents that I will ever have. And it was up to me to make the most of that.
Figuring out that Lisa was gay in junior high and then the talk you had with her, YEARS later about it. They were all so nervous!
When my dog, Smokey, peed in your shoe.
Benson and Hedge’s Ultra Light 100’s…in a box, Please!
Your 13th birthday at Gramlich Electric when it was at the front of the sub-division. (Didn’t your dad run off some hooligans with a knife?)
Spades, Hand and Foot…many, many game nights.
8th grade: riding the bus from your house and Rocky’s whooping cough that year.
The night you called me and told me that Rocky had to be put down. We cried for hours together.
Welcoming Tucker home!
Tucker eating chocolate and us pumping his stomach. We went back to eating. He threw up and Joanne about died…all the while we ate our macaroni.
When you called to tell me you got Tanner and I thought I heard you wrong when you said he was 1 pound.
Countless Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters and other holidays with you and your family.
How much your mom loved Halloween and made chili every year, if it was the only time she cooked. You loved that tradition.
The clothes we shared, some I still have, and the memories of shopping that I will have forever.
The accessories, oh, the accessories.
The way you shared your parents, grandparents and siblings without question and with all love.
Teaching you to drive in the F150 and then the Jag…quell nightmare? All you had to do was get us to A Wal-Mart; I didn’t even care which one. That ended with you crying and calling your mom to tattle on me.
When your room was in my room, way back in the day.
The way you hit the edge of my pillow so you could see my face before bed. I always thought you were going to sock me in the eye.
Getting ready for school in the morning…2 girls, 1 bathroom.
Your short-lived tennis lessons but oh, the tennis clothes you bought!
The parties we attended, the trouble we got into and the way we always knew we had each others back.
Riding dirt bikes with Dawes and Jay Laurent, we let them jump over us and rode with no helmets. What were we thinking?
Slumber parties with Joanne, Brooke, Meaghan and the gang at your parents’ house.
Realizing after talking to you that your mom was the first person I ever knew that broke the cycle and feeling your overwhelming faith that I could do the same.
Your college apartment and roommates, who were sensational!
The quite dinners with your dad when your mom was away with friends.
Experiencing loss together, talking about it and ultimately losing you. You have no idea the affect that losing you will always have on my life, everyday.
The friendships that were forged because of you, we had a friendship that we could go weeks or months without talking and it was always the same when we spoke. I have that now with your girls because of you. You have tied us together for the rest of our lives.
The ways that you helped me forget the past and look ahead to a better future.
Bingo to benefit Youth In Need, WE WON!
How your mom stressed the importance of always having your girls to fall back on, even when you do have a great man. How right she was! You knew that, even then.
The night of my mom’s bachelorette party when you got so excited over the strippers that you blew out the entire ass of your Z. Cavaricci’s, which I still have, BTW!
Yo, Viv, Babe!
Your smell, no soap, no perfume…just you.
Your faith in me and my abilities.
Your ability to see the good in all people and point it out to others.
The feeling of having you by my side and knowing we would rule the world someday.
Trying to teach you to cook.
Our conquest of older football players that ended up revealing that most of them were douche bags. Oh, the fun in that one though.
The trouble we made, the gossip we stirred and the hearts we broke. No matter where we are or what the circumstances, you were and will always be one of my very best friends. Until we meet again, my friend; I love you, I miss you and I will never forget.
"Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." Author Unknown