In our lives we are given only a few friends that we know with 100% certainty that we can pick up the phone at three in the morning for whatever reason, call, and they will be THERE. Whether it is a shoulder to cry on, someone to go with you to the hospital with an injured child, or help with hiding the bodies (well, theoretically....) there are, perhaps, at any given time in your life only one to three people you could call on and not feel at all bad about it, knowing that they could, in turn, call you.
Last week I while was out of town for our annual mission trip. My good friend B (we met twenty-six years ago in an exercise class for pregnant women when I was carrying Citygirl) came into town from Florida to help prep for Citygirl's wedding, not realizing that I was gone. She stopped by the house, ran some errands for Citygirl and made plans to return this week, using the extra time to catch up with her many other local friends.
Except, she didn't.
Sometime Friday she pulled her car off the road and called 911 for assistance. We don't know why. They responded quickly but by the time they arrived it was too late to help her.
And like that, she is gone.
The police needed someone to identify her, and came looking for me, which was how Citygirl was notified of her death. Another of her older friends was located for that sad task, sparing Citygirl that grim necessity. Citygirl sent me a text instructing me to call her when we came into cell phone service range (Central Appalachia is generally not on the grid).
It was a sad ride home.
B was the kind of person who made friends in the grocery line. She was kind to everyone. She was over the moon about her surprise pregnancy at the age of 42 (her first and only). She cared for her parents until they died (just a couple of days apart) and came and cried on my shoulder when they did. She opened her home to international students, friends, family and strangers. She's the one who drove me to Philly while I did dialysis with Babygirl in the car (Week Twenty-four: More Gratitude....) when she herself had just driven over 1400 miles in the previous few days. I helped her clean out her aunt's house after her death. She offered to come and stay here to help if I needed it as my Mom declined.
She always put her whole heart out where it could be seen. A true-blue three-AM friend.
There is a new bottle of Irish Mist in my fridge. I found it yesterday when I was looking for some vodka to mix with lemonade at the end of the day. She must have dropped it off while she was here, planning to come back for an evening of drinks and stories on our new deck. I wish I'd been here to have that drink with her. I wish she were still here to have that drink with me.