Italian Princess

I am feeling very down today as my very good, longtime friend is being honored by her family and friends at her funeral up in Minnesota. She was very loved by most everyone who ever met her and I am sure her funeral is packed. Texas is a bit far to travel to Minnesota on such short notice, so I have told her daughter that my plan is to come up to Minnesota towards fall to take her and her brother out to dinner and have a night of sharing stories in memory of their Mother. I have so many!

She was the rare person who was an open book about her life and feelings. Because of this, people felt a kinship with her fairly quickly. In a world of superficiality and societies obsessive competition with the Jones’s, she had neither of these traits. I always marveled at her ability to be happy for others in whatever they achieved or owned. She never acted jealous or envious of anyone.

When I first met her, I was enchanted with her dark Italian looks. She was tiny and always immaculately dressed. Her hands were beautiful and always well groomed with lovely lacquered nails. She could have been a hand model. Actually, she could have been a model for the petite section of womens clothing with her sleek trim body. No matter what she wore, she enhanced the outfit, rather than the other way around.

She had a fabulous sense of humor and I loved watching her laugh as her face and arms became very animated when something tickled her funny bone. She was rarely without a smile in her face.

We met in our very early 20’s and stayed friends for over 50 years. Even as my husbands career forced us to move hither and yon, it never broke the bond. No matter how much time passed, we could pick up the phone and begin a conversation where we last left off.

She asked me and my husband to be the Godparents for her son and we were honored that she did. She was a good and caring Mother to her children and was very proud of them.

She became a roommate of mine early on. There were 4 of us who shared an apartment, and we all eventually moved to the lower half of a duplex before we got married. We met up one night to introduce each other to our dates and as we walked toward each other, the guys reached out to shake hands and were happy to reacquaint with one another. She and I looked at each other and started to laugh. What are the odds that they already knew each other? Small world!

We got engaged and married within months of each other, had our children in close proximity of birth, and always, always stayed in touch. Through the years we watched each others lives unfold and we shared many happy gatherings. We were always happy to see each other because it meant sharing, caring and laughter.

Now, suddenly, she is gone from my life. I know that she has graduated to a much more beautiful existence, and so to emulate Terri, I choose to be happy for her for where she is right now. But, I am NOT happy to lose her presence in my life.

She was the Ethel to my Lucy. We named each other years ago as we watched old episodes of the “I love Lucy” show in our little apartment. I got the title of Lucy because she saw me as being crazy and zany and as unpredictable as Lucy (in my younger years) Lol. She became Ethel by default. The point of our annointing was that we always found ourselves in crazy innocent predicaments and we always soldiered onward with each other. We were fast friends with an unbreakable bond.

She was never judgmental about people. She LOVED people and always looked for the best in them. She was extremely social as a person, far more social than this mildly social introvert (yours truly). I used to listen to her social schedule and would be amazed at her energy level. She loved having friends and they responded to this trait in her because she had more friends than I could ever hope to have. Yet, she carved out a niche for me in her heart and it was always open to me to step right on in.

Yes, I am sad today, and I have felt an overwhelming sense of loss since I first realized she wasn’t going to make it. I have lost other friends too through the years, each time a painful passage to go through. I realize as these friends leave earth that I am losing a piece of myself with each and every one of them! They take with them our mutual experiences that no one else knows. No one else has knowledge of that little shared part of my life like she did. So, once a person loses a loved one, we are never complete again. It is as if the completed puzzle picture of our life has a piece taken out of it with each exit. When you look at our puzzle picture, you get the general picture of who I am, but with pieces missing. The observer can only guess at what part of my existence was in that now empty spot.

Terri, I will never be the same without you. When you left, you didn’t just take one piece out of my puzzle picture, you took many, because we shared so much of life. If heaven has a reception room, I know that a circle has formed around you of loved ones who have missed you since their own departures. I can hear laughter in the air and can see your head thrown back in mirth as your animated gestures remind all of your Italian heritage. I envy that gathering that I am not a part of.

My wish is this…when it is my time to move on to the next life…I hope you are at the gate to greet me, usher me in and show me around. No doubt, we will not miss a beat as we dive into sharing what we each have been doing in our respective lives.

I love you Terri. You made such an impact in this life…especially to me! If possible, please keep in touch! ❤️

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