Once upon a time, two friends met when they were five. The meeting place was Rock Church school. Their children are now in that school too. This school is a place that focuses on the Holy Spirit, and the curriculum is called Accelerated Christian Education or ACE. After a period of years, they were both home schooled for different reasons.
This story is about me and my best friend, Holly. She was one of the few friends I had in that season of our lives. Our mothers were friends, and we were both in the same church for a few years too. No matter the ebbs and flows to our lives, we always seemed to land back together. Once the teenage years came, I started my boyfriend season and she remained single. Still, it never pulled us apart. Some years we were closer, some years we weren’t, but it never really fazed us, for we always came back together. My senior year, I was the only senior, being that it was a small church school, and at 18 almost 19 years old, I understood who my future husband would be. That year brought clarity on many levels.
Holly adventured without me her freshman year at Paul D. Camp Community College. Now, she never had a hard time making friends, so she was never alone. The second year, however, I came along and we were doing classes together again. Our favorite class was public speaking. We have always enjoyed so many similar things. We like food. We like trying new things. We like going to new places, meeting new people. Looking back, we were pretty fearless and could make up things to play all along the way.
She soon graduated with her associates degree from what we like to call Paul D., now known as Camp Community College. She headed off to Liberty University and I landed at Old Dominion University. We didn’t know if the distance would divide us, but we soon found out that it didn’t. We gained new friends and new stories to tell. I meet people at the church I went to near school and she meet a bunch of girls in her dorm. The capacity to hold more friendships started. It never fazed us. I got to go and hang with them in Lynchburg, and we had some was amazing times.
Holly was there for three years. We both graduated in May 2004. In June of 2004, I got married with Holly by my side. And then, we started the next leg of this journey called life. Holly was still single most of this time. It wasn’t until 2006 when her future husband would walk into her life. And the rest is history. Our husbands had been friends on and off for years, and it was just a match for the coupling kind of living. In the years to come, we would travel many places together, for we didn’t have children right away.
Here are some of our adventures:
We did life together as married couples from 2007-2017. Church life. Kids life. Married life. This was our life. We laughed. We cried. We watched sports games. We watched movies. We took trips. We grow in our lives spiritually and relationally all along the way. So many laughs. Sooo many laughs.
As life happened, and the responsibilities kept growing, the adulting got harder. In March 2017, Holly got pregnant with her beautiful little girl, Mayleigh, but her pregnancies came hard. She was sick, sick, sick. After two months of working from home, she finally started to feel normal in June, and not even two weeks into what was going to be normalcy came the death of a lifetime for us—my husband’s sudden passing. I had to now navigate life on my own and I went into survivor mode. Holly also was in a different level of survival mode. This death hit all of us very hard and impacted every area of our lives. Her husband was deeply affected. We had to go our separate ways for the next two plus years.
The fall of 2017, the week before Thanksgiving, her mother passed away. The next week, she gave birth to Mayleigh. And so, for the first time, we were in different seasons. Both walking through grief, but she is now back in infancy land. Navigating this land was uncommon for us, and so we had to just handle things separately. The time to connect became very hard. It was tough at times and our hearts were hurting, but the words just weren’t there in this uncommon land. But yet, time helped us heal and we adjusted to our new lives without our loved ones near by. Today is her mother’s birthday. So, Veronica, I honor you and your prayers and your sacrifice. For without you, I wouldn’t have Holly and for that I am eternally grateful.
Back to the story. We had finally found a new normal and were becoming acquainted with this new season when more changes were ahead. Covid-19 happened. Holly’s husband was at high-level risk for his health issues. So, he was Covid conscience. In 2019, they did life mostly just with immediate family. They kept things very small. The blessing of this time is the intimate time they had as a family. Jesus’ hand is and was all over this!!! In the beginning of 2021, I also had a send-off for my niece, Amber, who has been my right hand lady since 2017. By the end of January, Derrick came down with Covid and life got very serious. For those of you who have been following my blogs each week, you have read about the happenings all along the way.
Now, here we are in April 2021 on spring break. And it’s been just that, a break from daily work/school juggling. This mothering of multiple children as widows is full to say the least. Our days are full, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our kids love each other. The love we had for each other has been passed down to the next generation, and our lives have landed back together in this uncommon land of mothering widows. The amazing part of this story is I’m learning parts of who Holly is that I didn’t know before. She has been walking with Jesus as long as I have, but her relationship with the Lord is deeper than I ever knew. Her wisdom, her understanding of who God is and how He has walked her through things is bringing me peace. Folks, this is an amazing Good Grief Story. New is what is ahead for both of us in whatever road Jesus takes us down. We believe Jesus is cheering for us. He has been preparing us. We both feel we have been equipped internally with the answers from the Divine. All we have to do is sit down, connect in, and He will give us a line that calms our minds.
To know you have a friend at this level of similarity is uncommon, but it’s our story. I hope these pictures of this week’s spring break will bring joy to your hearts, to know the steps ahead are not scripted, but we feel confident of this very thing:
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Philippians 1:6 KJV
This we know is true. This we know is true.
Until next time,
Connect to the Mender.
Be a sender.
PS. Happy Birthday Veronica!! Your children are thriving and I know you are very proud!! Your faith has made us well. And today, we remember the saint that has gone before us, but yet is still celebrating us today!!