My friend's mom lost a long and extremely spirited battle with brain cancer on Tuesday. She was given 3 months to live, shortly before this picture was taken, when we were in New York, nearly four years ago.
My friend and I met on the first day of high school - we had both competed in the same regatta during the summer and she was wearing the regatta t-shirt (which I had begged to wear to school that day; my mom had set a "no shirts with writing on them for the first day of school" rule). We started talking ("Hey, where'd you get that shirt?!") and that was that. We were friends all through high school, taking part in musicals (she with the lead, me in the pit orchestra), then kept in touch through college, and then moved to New York City around the same time after college. She was living on the Upper East Side when I was living in Tudor City, and we'd randomly meet up for lunch or brunch or drinks (fabulous 20-somethings that we were).
[As a side note, our dads worked together for nearly a year before realising that we were such good friends. "Oh, you live in New Rochelle, too?" "Yep, I do. My daughter is a sophomore at NRHS." "Really? Mine too!" Then, later, to me, "Do you know a girl called Liz? Her dad and I work together!" "Dad, that's Lizzie. She was here for supper yesterday." (I have since been told a similar conversation happened at their house.)]
My parents were living in Florida when we were both in college, and Lizzie's parents decided that I really shouldn't be left to fend for myself in the Big Wide World on Sunday nights. So we'd take Metro North out together for pasta dinner at her parents' house. I don't really remember specific evenings - they all blended together into one long comforting pasta session with parents who weren't exactly mine but were just as loving and caring.
When I was home last month, we knew that the end wasn't far off, so we spent as much time as possible with them. Mostly brief visits, since we didn't want to wear Christy out, but the day before I flew back to the UK, we spent the whole afternoon together. It was heartbreaking, to see her in such bad shape, but also restoring to see the love surrounding her - whenever we were there, there were family and friends either just leaving or about to arrive.
After she passed away this week, I had an overwhelming urge to go and make pasta. With meatballs. For Christy. Because of all the times that she fed and nourished and loved me, the least I could do from the wrong side of the Atlantic was try and feed and nourish and love my family just a little bit extra. So here they are.
Christy, thank you for everything. For being a wonderful mom, a wonderful not-mom-but-helping-out, a fighter against the horribleness that is brain cancer, and an inspiration to us all. We're going to miss you.