The Shoes I Never Wanted

Today I have to buy shoes I never wanted.  Shoes to go with a dress I never thought I’d wear.

Things change in an instant.  With a phone call.  A call that tells you, somehow, one of your oldest and dearest friends is gone.  Gone at 38, without warning.

And the lens through which I see the world may never be the same.

I’ve known Jen for 27 years.  She lived down the street.  She went to middle school with me.  And dance class.  And high school.  And summer vacations down the shore.  She shopped for my wedding dress with me.  We were bridesmaids to each other.  She told me which car seat I needed for my first born –  in fact, she bought it for me.  I’ve known her parents’ phone number by heart for over two decades.  And now she’s gone.  And I don’t understand.

I don’t understand how, today, I’m supposed to show up to this address I was given — a funeral home — and tell her goodbye.  The truth is that I don’t think I can.

I don’t understand how her husband and kids and parents and friends can be left without her.

I don’t understand how it’s ever going to feel any less like this combination of heartbreak, disbelief and helplessness.

I would give anything to be buying different shoes — the pumps for our prom, the ballet slippers for our recital, the flip flops for our high school days at the beach, the comfortable white heels that let me dance with her for hours at my wedding.  Not these shoes to wear with this dress to show up at that address today.  I don’t know how these shoes will hold me up when I look her parents, her brother, her husband and her kids in the eye and tell them how much I loved her.

But here’s what I do know.

I know that there will never be someone whose laughter draws you in like hers.  Jen, you never believed you were that funny.  You were so very funny.  You always made me laugh louder and without reservation in a way that nobody else could.

I know that I will think of you hundreds of times every day, and I will try to smile instead of cry.  I will try.

I know that I will tell your beautiful children, like many others will — for years and years to come — all of the things that made you so fabulous.  I will tell them about our times in school.  I will tell them about your unwavering friendship and everything you ever did for me.  How you were a fixture at my parents’ kitchen table, telling jokes.  How a friendship this true grew more and more with each milestone of our lives.

And I know that, wherever you are, you are with us.  Always.

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Comments

  1. PB and Jazz says:

    I am sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful post, a great tribute to your friendship. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and you her friend.

  2. I am so so sorry for your loss. I lost one of my best friends 4 years ago. He was only 31. I do still think of him all the time and it always makes me smile. I never thought I could talk about him without crying, but now I can tell stories about him and it always, always makes me feel good, makes me laugh. Today will be impossibly hard, and you’ll remember today forever. But with time, tears will give way to laughter and your love and friendship will be with you always.

  3. Jen T. says:

    Beautiful, like Jen.

  4. Casey says:

    I am thinking of you, so sorry for your loss. Good luck today, you will need more support and love than any shoes can provide.
    Casey

  5. This really stabbed me in the heart. I lost a dear friend a few years back. You already know it’s going to be tough, so just be sure to remember that in addition to all the people you know and love, there are others you have never met face-to-face who will keep you in their thoughts.

  6. Sandra Ruedt says:

    I am so sorry.

  7. Christine says:

    Beautiful and perfect.

  8. Kathy knorr says:

    I am SO sorry. She was loved and will be remembered by many. I will never forget what a kind soul she had.

  9. Lisa says:

    I am so sorry. I’ll be thinking of you and Jen’s family.

  10. I am so very sorry for your loss. And I’m so sad about her kids who I know will miss their mom dearly. She sounds like a very special friend…I’m sure you’ll keep her with you in your heart.

  11. Julie says:

    I am so sorry for your heartache and loss.

  12. Kim says:

    Your words will stay with me for a long, long time. I’m so sorry for your loss. This post made me understand, in as much as anyone can, the depth of your friendship. The beauty of Jen. And the power of her memory. My thoughts are with you from across the country. xo

  13. amy says:

    Many Many hugs to you. It sucks to lose a good friend, a soul sister, it just sucks.

  14. nessa says:

    Kim, I am so sorry. Her grace will be with you and her family always. She’s here…we just can’t see her but you’ll hear her all the time in songs that you hear on the radio or stories that you tell. Remember that nothing is merely coincidence. Love you and I’m thinking of you.

  15. Patty says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you many hugs.

  16. lesley says:

    Beautiful post Kim. I’m sending you a big hug from Texas.

  17. kari says:

    I am so sorry!!!! BUT, because you are the person that you are ~ because you know what’s right ~ because you know that she’d do it for you….. You’ll go to that address…. your broken heart floating in your tears ~ and pay your respects…

    Just because I know that’s what you’ll do ?
    Thinking of & praying for your families…
    Kari

  18. kari says:

    And… that was a heart after the last phrase.. not a question mark… <3

  19. anna says:

    i am so sorry, and this is a beautiful tribute to your dear friend.

  20. Whitney says:

    Kim,

    So beautiful and so perfect. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I know how close you were and there are just no words that will ever take the pain away. She was simply beautiful inside and out.

    I have had so many thoughts running around in my head for the past two days, that I feel like it could just explode. I know in the future, you will be there to buy the shoes those beautiful children will need; ballet slippers and cleats. I wish I could tell you it will get easier or the pain will go away, but it will not. If you ever are in need of an ear to bend, please call me.

    Whitney

  21. Jessica says:

    I’m so sorry for you loss. Way too early for your friend.

  22. Ilana says:

    I am so so sorry you lost your friend. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you and her family.

  23. Brenda Nicolo says:

    Kim ~ What a beautiful tribute to Jen. I’m sorry for your loss.

  24. meridith lentini ashley says:

    kim, i am so sorry for your loss. i have not stopped thinking about jen since i heard the awful, devastating news. i can’t stop thinking about her kids and family and friends like you who are in so much pain. i hadn’t seen jen in many years but am grateful we connected in the past few years. how i wish now we had met up like she suggested. you just never know do you? i hope in time your pain diminishes. thinking of you. mer

  25. Erica says:

    Totally made me cry! Words fail me!! : ( So sorry for your loss; thinking of you…keep the beautiful memories & keep the memories beautiful. xo

  26. Luisa Megale says:

    Sorry Kim – hugs

  27. Ninja Mom says:

    So sorry to read this.

  28. Nichole says:

    I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your dear friend.
    I can’t begin to know the pain you’re feeling, but I can tell you that this piece is such a lovely tribute to her.
    Truly beautiful.

    • fordeville says:

      I just now went back and read all of these lovely replies. You are all so very thoughtful — thank you.

  29. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. I hope you find the comfort and strength that you need during this time.

  30. Lanae says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute (this post and the other with all the photos of you together) to your dear friend.

  31. Glamamom says:

    Beautiful Kim.

  32. no comment profound enough….you are in my thoughts and prayers. beautiful testimonial to your beloved friend.

  33. Loukia says:

    This post completely destroyed me. I’m so sorry. How tragic.

  34. Kim, I’m so sorry. What a blow to your soul to lose someone like this. I hope you, and her family, can hold on to her memory as you forge ahead.

  35. Kerrri says:

    Thinking of you and sending hugs your way.

  36. Rachael says:

    This is a beautiful post. It’s a few months later, but I am sure that this hasn’t gotten much easier. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  37. HouseTalkN says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  38. Such a beautiful post, Kim. It made me think about the things I want to say to my friends NOW and how much I love and appreciate them. I’m so sorry for your loss.
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