“This is my favorite poem,” she said. “I want you to have a copy.”
I read it, loved it and taped it inside my locker door. When the school year was over, I took the poem down and kept it in a safe place, and I hung it in the locker I was assigned my junior year – the same year my friend who gave me the poem died in a car wreck.
My friend’s dad was the maintenance superintendent at the school. Some time after she passed away, he stopped me in the hallway and asked if he could speak to me in the maintenance closet. We went in, and he handed me a copy of the poem.
“Shay always liked this poem, and I wanted you to have a copy to remember her by,” he said to me. The grief on his face was almost too much to bear.
All I could say was, “Follow me.”
I led him to my locker and opened it to show him the poem taped to the back of my locker door.
“She gave it to me last year, and I loved it so much, I’ve kept it in my locker ever since,” I told him.
We didn’t cry in the hallway, but we did hug, and I’m sure both of us cried in private later on. I’m crying right now thinking about how much I still miss her. What a crazy, sweet, beautiful person she was.
I kept the poem in my locker until I graduated, and I also included it in some of our senior class memorabilia. I now keep it in a bag that contains mostly memories of friends and children I’ve lost through the years. I pull it out every now and again to look at it. I don’t need to read it to remember what it says. I memorized it shortly after taping it to my locker door.
During the last 20 years, I’ve used the poem as a pick-me-up in times of dismay. I’ve sent it to many close friends – and some not-so-close friends who just needed a bright spot in their lives. I feel Shay’s sunny spirit each time I write it or repeat it to someone. She was one of those people who just had a glow about her – an indescribable attraction.
Just yesterday as I was setting up this blog, I was trying to think of a perfect verse or quote or saying to add to my “About Me” section. I had not thought of the poem in quite some time, but all at once, it popped into my head. You’ll find it on the right-hand side of this blog.
Then, this morning, I sat down to go through a few e-mails from friends who have sent their well-wishes for my future. I had delayed reading an e-mail from one of my best friends because I knew she would say all the right things, and I selfishly wanted to savor every word, mainly for my own self esteem and peace of mind. Lu always has a way of backing up my crazy ideas with words of assurance.
When Lu was finished confirming my choices and empowering me in a way only she can do, she tacked on some final inspiration with the words, “And, as a good friend of mine once said … ”
May your path be strewn with flowers,
Memories, friends and happy hours.
May blessings come from heaven above
To fill your life with peace and love.
- An English prayer
Thanks, Lu. I love you. And thanks, Shay. I love you, too.