When my parents divorced, my mom had one friend who understood.
They were both young junior high teachers with young kids and they were both looking at life through the lens of divorce.
This was almost 25 years ago.
How do you calculate the significance of a friend who knows you through the hardest time of your life?
How do you measure the gifts of someone who watches you grow up--knowing every difficult obstacle you've faced?
We used to vacation as families together. Linda was there when I went through the temple. She was there when my brother passed away.
She was a witness to my family's life. And we were a witness to hers.
We saw how she transformed every yard she touched into a garden of Eden. We watched her daughters grow into beautiful, amazing women. We saw how despite a fatal diagnosis 8 years ago, she continued to live--teaching class, falling in love, planting flowers for the coming spring, and celebrating the opportunities of life.
These two young teachers--my mother and Linda--facing life as a young divorced mother--witnessed one another's transformation from lost and broken to strong, respected in their field, beautiful, intelligent, happy women.
There's a comfort in long friendships. They see not only who you are now--but who you were--they know why certain dates are more difficult than others. They celebrate your victories with you because they know the beginning of the fight for that moment.
Today I am grateful for Linda.
She passed away yesterday after celebrating Mother's Day with her beautiful daughters.
I took almost a hundred pictures Sunday night. The world was radiant on the last night of her time on earth. The sky glowed with the light of a radiant woman.