While we wandered and tasted and made crafts, my mind went to a friend of mine who just died.
She was my friend while I was trying to get pregnant. She was my friend who was the self appointed expert on all things motherhood. A lot of things I find myself gravitating to as important, are things she used to say over and over. Her kids were her WORLD. SCHOOL IS THEIR JOB she would say. YOU HAVE TO BE INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING THEY DO, she would say. She helped me find the best pediatrician.
I didn't think she was a perfect mom, but I thought she was a good mom. As a friend, she was definitely someone whose opinion and values mattered to me. I listened to her, and believed in so much of what she said.
So there I was at international night, tasting chicken satay, and laughing as my son played the various instruments with his friends, blinking back my tears.
In the course of 12 years, 11 I have been gone from there, my friend drank herself to death. Her alcoholism existed even when I knew her, but I never perceived it. She was good at pretending she didn't have a problem - for a while.
I find it unthinkable, that someone whose world revolved around her kids, could change into someone whose world revolved around booze. But that's how powerful it is. She couldn't even stop for all the things she believed in, all the things she loved.
I know that the bubbly, bossy girl Michele and I were friends with hasn't existed in a long time. She changed as the demon took hold of her and turned her into someone else. So I guess I can't mourn the person I knew suddenly dying, as that person hasn't been around in years and years.
But I regret the loss to her children, of the woman I knew. Do they even remember her, and her passion for them? Do they know how they were EVERYTHING to her? The mom who did crafts and participated at school, vs. being a sick drunk prone to rage - do they remember? God I hope they do. I do.
I mourn the loss of hope, of future, for her. I regret the missed chances, the grandchildren, the firsts she won't get to see now. I mourn the girl who I knew, being lost in the bottom of a bottle.
This is how I will remember her. Round cheeked, smiling, and with bigger hair than was actually appropriate for the decade. I saw another picture of her online, thin, bony, sharp featured. I don't know that girl.This is the girl I know.