In memory of our friends …

Missing friends holidays Friendship christmasA year ago today my dear college buddy, Dana, passed away after a long, unfair, evil battle with Breast Cancer. December 23rd – just two days shy of a holiday we’d celebrated for years, many times in each other’s homes and while sharing a glass of wine, laughter and great memories. As her uncle (‘unkie’) said of her holiday passing, ‘she got a better offer for Christmas’ and quietly slipped from our lives and the arms of her loving husband Bear (also a college friend and one of the four college friends we call the “Big Chill”).

Bear, as a true loving husband, has spent the past year grieving. It’s broken our hearts to see his ripped to shreds and living a life of sadness and loneliness. In recognition of this anniversary, he asked friends to help him by sharing stories, tweet, emails and memories as well as honor her life by doing one of the following: (partial list)

1. Take a ski lesson. Or if you’re a skier, ski a mountain in Dana’s honor. Or pay for someone’s ski lesson.
2. Take a knitting lesson. Or if you’re a knitter, knit something that celebrates life.
3. Scrapbook a trip or an event.
4. Take a bike ride through crunchy leaves in the fall.
5. Try a food you’ve never had.
6. Fill out a bracket for the NCAA March Madness tournament using nothing but mascots as your criteria—think logic (a boilermaker would smash a buckeye), philosophy (devils always lose) or food chain (cats beat birds; actually, cats beat anything). For tiebreakers (i.e., two cats facing off), go with your favorite team colors or the mascot that is less cartoony.
7. Find a harp teacher and randomly offer to pay for a lesson or two for a student in need. Or hire a harpist for an event you hold or attend and tell others about the amazing woman who inspired you to do so. If you find yourself at a symphony, listen for the harp, which is always a challenge, especially when brass is involved.
8. Help a friend on chemo.
9. Give to an organization (e.g., a church, a ministry, a health-care foundation).
10. Call up your favorite friend or your “Unkie” or most anyone, and listen and care.
11. Get excited about most anything and talk and laugh really loud.
12. Be brave. Don’t let any crisis define you; let the delicious moments define you.
13. Love.

Each of these challenges reflect a little part of Dana, aka: Dane. And each make me miss her silliness, smart brain and sweet friendship.

Look around. Do you have friends who have lost someone they love? Or, are you that person with a hole in your heart where a friend or family once was?The holidays can be anything but happy when we miss someone we loved.

Be a better friend. Be there for each other girlfriends. Listen. Show you care. Hug – then hug some more.

And don’t forget #13 – just LOVE on each other. That’s what the holidays are really all about. LOVE. #thatisall

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