I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made many new, close friends in my 50s. I’m blessed to have quite a few Sister-Friends, those phenomenal women with whom I share strong bonds of trust, love, and shared experience. Most of them I’ve known for many years.
Imagine my delight several years ago when I met and made two Sister-Friends in the matter of a week, over the course of my first (their second) Sheep Ahoy Knitters’ Cruise. Cathie and Barb had been work colleagues, close friends, and stash-enabling knitting buddies for 25 years, and they welcomed me with open arms.
Barb brought us all tiaras for “formal night” in the
sheep’s ship’s dining room. Of course.
Cathie shared a story that illustrates Barb’s obsession with love of yarn and her sense of humor perfectly:
“One time, we went to a yarn fare in Kitchener, arriving when the doors opened. In the first 15 minutes, we had each spent several hundred dollars and had to make a trip to the car. I said ‘this could be a problem – we’ve only been here 15 minutes.’ Barbie said, ‘I know, I’m worried there won’t be enough room in my trunk!’
The three of us snorted with laughter on a regular basis whenever we were together. I’m quite sure none of us has been able to look at almond milk without giggling. We emailed, occasionally talked on the phone, went on another Sheep Ahoy cruise, this time to Canada and Maine. Love, laughter, and knitting abounded whenever we were together and even when we weren’t.
And then tragedy struck. Last week, Barb died of advanced lung cancer that she, who never smoked, had been diagnosed with in April.
In May, Cathie and I took a road trip (me from Boston, her from Vancouver) for a weekend visit to Barb’s home in Ontario. As always, love, laughter, and knitting were in plentiful supply — along with delicious food and yarn shopping at Barb’s local yarn store, The Little Red Mitten.
I’m trying to focus on the positive and be grateful for having been blessed with such a wonderful friend. And I am, truly. But sometimes the sadness and unfairness of it all tightens my throat and squeezes tears from my eyes.
I’ll remember her this way — with an armful of yarn, a sparkle in her eyes, and a smile on her face, giddy with the optimism and possibility of what would come next.