At church on Tuesday, I listened as my parents chatted with two old friends about how all of their children had grown up together. We’re all adults now. One of them, who had taught at the nursery school my brother and I went to, had been one of my colleagues during my brief stint as a classroom teacher. We were there to celebrate the life of another woman who would have joined the conversation. We were there to support two women who, like me, were once the children of which they spoke.
I’ve talked about Paula before. I don’t remember when I first met her and her sister. Laura and Paula were just always there. Girls we went to church with. As my brother and I got older, they became girls we did theatre with. Girls we went to KAMSC with. Women we were friends with.
Then Sofia died. Then Sebastian died. And our lives changed completely. A simple school friendship became a deep understanding of each others’ hearts and minds. Shoulders to lean on. Ears to bend. Most reliable confidants.
Paula and I tentatively announced our next pregnancies to each other with the relief to learn we were both again in the same place. We continue to check in regularly. Sometimes in the broader support group that includes our dear Joanna who is approaching the second anniversary of her Gabriel. Sometimes just the two of us, especially when Joanna’s grief was fresh and the wound in her heart a mere scab and not yet a scar.
We see each other more frequently than we did in the years between high school and Sofia and Sebastian. We make it a point to see each other. To talk. To maintain the connection.
It wasn’t public knowledge. But Paula let me know that her mom was not doing well. Last week I had a dream. I think it was Wednesday night, but it might have been a bit earlier in the week than that. For some reason we were all at her parents’ house. Paula and Laura and their dad and my parents and me… And in walked Carol. She was healthier than we had seen her in years.
“We weren’t expecting you!” we exclaimed. “The last thing we knew you were in hospice!”
On Friday, Laura posted a link to the obituary.
If I did have that dream on Wednesday, it was after Carol had died. Paula had a dream that night, too. It wasn’t quite the same as mine. It was more motherly, as it should be.
Somehow, all of those children of which my parents and their friends spoke have grown up. We’ve started to shift generations. I’m not sure any of us are ever ready. But we’re here for each other and we always will be.