Just a little over one year ago, on July 31st, Suki, my very best friend from childhood, met me two days after I arrived in Toronto so we could re-unite and heal the past after 43 years apart.
Before that, on March 31st, Suki’s birthday, I summoned up the courage to request her friendship on Facebook which she accepted within moments of my sending it. Later she told me she had been just thinking of me and was stunned when the Facebook request came in.
Later, when we met in person after all these years apart, the first words out of her mouth after walking and then running into each other’s arms were, “I will never let go of you again.” I melted into those words, and somehow, it just felt ‘home’ again. Like I had just been welcomed home again.
And even though we are 3,000 miles apart, and don’t speak that often and we email even less, the wounds have been healed and the love is eternal. She has given me full permission to tell this story and to post the picture you see above.
No words are adequate to describe how it feels to have this friend back in my life. You will understand more later in an excerpt from my book which I will share here. Going back to last summer, not only was I blessed to see Suki, I was equally blessed to see her father.
Mr. Vaz was like my second dad. I was probably in their house as much as I was in my own. He was kind and gentle and always gave me the feeling that he loved me as much as he did his own children and I adored him.
I knew from my conversations with Suki that he was very, very ill. Her mom had died just months before. Now her dad, who had always been her very best friend, was close to dying and it was indeed a heartbreaking time for her. She told her dad that we were in touch again and that I was coming to Toronto. He wanted to see me and it couldn’t have been more mutual.
Suki took me to see him at his home. He was waiting for us on the sofa and the moment I laid eyes on him, I started to weep. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I had missed him.
I sat down beside him, we hugged and his eyes were also filled with tears. It was a breathtaking moment for us both. We began to talk and even though he was now in his 90’s and in pain, his mind was as sharp as a whip. He insisted on taking us to dinner that night and in spite of ALL odds, he did. He drove us to a Chinese Restaurant where he had already booked reservations and it was truly like old times.
Just two days after I returned to Victoria, Mr. Vaz passed away. It’s hard not to believe, on some level, he waited for me to come. At least that’s the story I want to tell myself.
During my time with Suki in Toronto, we held hands as we walked the streets of our old neighbourhood and reminisced about old times. When we talked about the quarrel that pulled us apart, we both had diametrically opposed memories of it. We didn’t care. We were hardly going to try to win sides at this point. That would have been insanity in my books!
I not only feel I have my best friend back, I have a history of a lifetime restored to me. It was very painful to think of my childhood and teenage years because there were very few memories where Suki was not a part of it.
And now that chapter has been healed.
The following is a passage from my book, Re-Write Your Life which will give you a background to set this story against. It is called, Letting Go.
In it, I called Suki, Lisa to keep her identity hidden. Now it is no longer a secret. Lisa was the name she was going to give to a baby girl, had she had one. Suki could hardly believe I remembered that. We both remembered so much about each other that we ourselves had forgotten.
“…I never used to think myself as a rebel but I suppose in some ways I have been. I did not do what society had expected of me back then. I did not marry out of high school like my sisters did. My best friend and I spoke for years about travelling together long before it was popular for girls to do such things. We were barely 19 and we did it. We flew to New York from Toronto in the early fall of 1970. Then we walked aboard a student ship that sailed 10 days across the Atlantic to Le Havre, France and on to Southampton, England where we docked, got off and stepped into a future that neither of us could have predicted. We intended to be away for a year. It didn’t happen. At least not together.
This was where the biggest letting go of my young life happened…and it took me years and endless tears to finally let go of the pain.
Lisa and I met in grade 2. I don’t remember what it was that initially made me follow her until she finally agreed to be my friend. She did and we became inseparable. We walked to school together every day, did our homework together at night and in those long, hot, Toronto summer’s we hung out with each other in the park behind the apartment buildings where we lived. One summer when I was twelve I was sent to camp and we cried bitter tears in the parting. We wrote to each other every day. We grew into teenagers and double dated.
At 18 Lisa got engaged and so did I. Within a year both of our engagements ended and we decided to make our childhood dream come true. Set out on a travel adventure. It didn’t unfold the way we envisioned it. The following is the way I remembered it, Suki remembered it differently. Once aboard the ship Lisa stopped talking to me. For 10 unbearable days she ignored me. None of my pleading brought her any closer to telling me what was wrong.
In desperation I pretended to have fun with the new friends I was meeting but inside me was an agonizing loneliness. Not until the day we sighted land and were to disembark did Lisa finally let me know what was going on. She was carrying a horrific burden, a dreadful secret that she only felt safe enough to tell me when we got to the other side of the world. (It’s her secret so I’m choosing not to share it.) As she spoke she wept and I held her. We wept together. It was beyond what either of us had any experience with or were prepared for. It was totally outside our comfort zone and neither of us had the tools to know how to handle it.
Within a very short time it brought about the end of our friendship. I returned home from Europe a year later with my first experience of clinical depression. There were many things that preceded and contributed to that crisis, but none that held the weight of despair like losing Lisa’s love.
Letting go of her was among the hardest things I ever had to do. Somewhere in the letting go process I wrote this:
“She enters my thoughts out of nowhere and suddenly I’m consumed by that familiar longing again — a crippling emptiness that has all the scars of a motherless child — vainly searching shadowed street corners for the one who’s never, ever coming back. I suppose I’ll go to my grave with this. Therapy and the years have played their bit in assisting to dull the ache but it comes back anyway. It comes back in torrents and floods and then ebbs away again leaving me like the darkened streets, desolate and bare.
And again someday when I least expect to remember — when I’m doing something menial like ironing a shirt or crossing a street or thinking about buying myself flowers, she’ll return in full life-size form and dimensions, equipped with sounds and tastes and smells and the movie projector is running on automatic and we’re children again, running in the park and giggling over some silly joke or about one of the teachers at school. The secrets. We told each other all our secrets and shared all of our dreams for what we wanted when we grew up. We shared it all. Teenage tears and fears and the excitement over a new boy. And we sang. How we loved to sing! We knew all the words to every song. Nat King Cole’s ‘Smile’ was ours. And we did everything together. Best friends. We were best friends. Blood sisters. Didn’t we cut our index fingers until they bled when we were eight, then rubbed them together and swore an oath to never, ever part. It worked. She lives inside my veins. It’s only in the other world she ceases to exist — the one that shows its face to the others. But the woman-child who lives inside me and peaks out only now and again is the one who remembers and she’s the one who misses you, Lisa. She’s the one who wishes more than anything else in this entire life that you would come back and love her again.”
It has been 2 decades since I wrote that and the pain has long since subsided. I have a flood of loving tenderness when I think of her. Wherever she is, I hope she is happy and fulfilled in her life. As with all experiences, I know they happen to heal and bring us into deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I understand that if we had had the tools, we would have surpassed the crisis that separated us forever. For many years I blamed her for rejecting me but in truth I did that to myself. I locked myself into a coffin of guilt and hopelessness so it was no wonder I became clinically depressed.
Letting go has been much easier of late. I’ve had the death of both my mother and sister in the past year and a half to help me practice. A spiritual tenet that seems to work for me is to accept what is. To fight against what is only creates suffering and unnecessary drama. I can try to hold on but in this temporal world, nothing stays the same. So it helps to remember I have the conscious choice of how to respond to situations. Do I want peace and contentment or do I want to suffer? If I want to suffer I hold on and fight. If I want peace I can accept what is and see the beauty and perfection in all situations. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel pain or sadness. I do. And then I embrace it and hold compassion for the part of me that is hurting. In the honouring of the pain it dissipates and the letting go process is organic. I don’t make it go away, it just does and I move into a state of well-being.
When I think back of Lisa today, it’s like a very long ago dream but one that had a tremendous impact on my life. I learned early about the bitterness of separation and betrayal. I learned of guilt and anguish and it took years to stop re-enacting the same patterns. Hopefully I have learned enough to pass on what I have learned in a way that can assist in lessoning someone else’s pain.
Wherever you are Lisa, know you are loved. I am grateful for the gift of remembering us all those years ago and acknowledging where I am today. I am at peace. I pray that you are too.”
And I do know she is at peace and we are both at peace with each other.
Thank You hardly describes the gratitude I have in my heart to the Universe for re-uniting us in the senior years of our life.
I want to reiterate that the story that I believed all these years was so different than how Suki remembers it. How often do we do that? How many times do we hold onto our stories as ‘The Truth’ when, of course, there could be so many other interpretations. Each of us can occupy the same time and space with the same outer experience yet it will be our inner experience and our personal perceptions that will determine its meaning.
Had I considered this, I would have been able to let go years earlier.
Do you have stories that you haven’t let go of?
Are you still hurting from stories in your past?
Are you finally ready to transform them so that you can be free?
On September 11th, I am launching an 8-Week Re-Write Your Life, A Sacred Path to New Beginnings Workshop Series
See details here https://junieswadron.com/workshops/re-write-your-life/
An Invitation to share your inspirational stories:
If you have transformed a painful story from the past that you would like to share, you can send it to me to be included in my blog. We never know when our stories of courage and action can inspire and empower another to move from “I can’t” to, “Yes, I can, and I will!”