Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend

Here I am again, trying to formulate the words to try and explain why I lost another loved one too early in life. So permit me another off photography post…

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw that I headed back to Chicago this week to attend the funeral of my best friend. The last time I headed home was for the funeral of my father in law.

My best friend, Patty Devers passed away on February 17th. She had been to the dentist, came home, and was resting on the couch watching some tv. One minute she was fine, the next she was unconscious. What on earth could happen to cause a 46 year woman to just fall unconscious? Turns out, she had tumors all over her body, on her major organs including her heart. This caused her heart to enlarge and stop beating. No warning, no way of ever knowing.

Patty and I have known each other for over 11 years. I was a First Grade teacher in Antioch when Patty moved to the area and starting teaching a couple rooms down from me. We talked as colleagues, but nothing more. The next year her oldest son Beau was put in my first grade class. Boy, do I have some great stories of that boy. I wish I could tell you them all here. He was the tallest kid and loved hugs. So now Patty and I got to know each other as teacher and parent. I would later go on to teach her younger son Jacob in first and second grade.

A couple years later, Hillcrest Elementary was built, a new building in the district. Patty and I both ended up over there and became neighbors. This is where our friendship really started. We are very much alike…our teaching styles are very similar, both hard headed, very passionate about teaching. The district was starting the multiage program up again, and we knew that we would make the perfect team, and we did until I moved to Savannah last summer. We were the perfect team.

Patty was the first one I called when I became engaged. Patty was the first one I told when I became pregnant. Patty was the first one I confided in when we were planning a move to Savannah.  Patty was the only one I could confide in when I was frustrated with work, family, friends, husband….she knew how to sympathize when she needed to, and she knew how to knock some sense in to me when I needed it.

Some days I think I am lucky to be living a thousand miles away….I won’t have those daily reminders, I won’t have the urge to go to her classroom across the hall and talk some trash. But then I think, I am too far away…I need those daily reminders so I never forget the wonderful friendship we had. But really, can you ever forget a best friend? Please tell me you can’t, because I have never lost a best friend before.

March will be hard, Patty had just bought her plane ticket to come visit me. She hadn’t traveled much in her life, and she was excited to come see the ocean. She wanted to be like Delta Burke on Designing Women and see all the historic houses. She wanted to eat some Paula Dean southern cooking.

When I moved, Patty was worried I wouldn’t make the effort to go meet people…it was a valid worry. I prefer the comfort of familiarity. Patty confessed to me that she hated the thought I would get a new best friend in my new city…but she knew it was best for me. Well, no one will ever replace you Patty. No worries there. :)

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