46. 2009 Losing my Buddy and gaining a Son in law

In early 2009 it became apparent that the treatment my buddy Allyson had been receiving for her brain tumor was no longer working and with no further options it was time to say our farewells.  Too often precious people are taken suddenly with words left unspoken – we had time.

In many ways we had always been prepared for this – we had made the pact to remain in the family – we had both said we would rather go together than be left alone (but knew that one of us would need to stay and be the care-taker).  We were able to have those conversations about our friendship, about our futures and to reassure her that I would always be there for her precious babies Jason, Megan & James  and we both knew that this time was special something not to be taken for granted.  We spoke by phone, we exchanged emails, and then, when the conversations were over, I told her that this was now her journey and when she was ready she was free to go. …. and she did.  That day I lost my Buddy, Heaven gained an Angel and the heavens gained a bright new star.

a_butterfly-217546

We had a song – we loved our song.  We sang it  loudly on road trips, we called each other if it came on the radio, we wrote it in cards and we lived it.  I never really liked the last verse but it was part of our song. ….

Thank you for being a friend 
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant
 
I’m not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off, won’t you stand up and take a bow
 
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend
 
If it’s a car you lack
I’d surely buy you a cadillac
Whatever you need, anytime of the day or night
I’m not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off, won’t you stand up and take a bow
 
And when we both get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
Have no fear, even though it’s hard to hear
I will stand real close and say,
Thank you for being a friend
 
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
 
And when we die and float away
Into the night, the Milky Way
You’ll hear me call, as we ascend
I’ll see you there, then once again
Thank you for being a friend
 
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
Whoa, tell you about a friend
(Thank you right now, for being a friend)
Thank you for being a friend
(I wanna tell you right now, and tell you again)
Thank you for being a friend
(I wanna thank you, thank you, for being a friend)
Thank you for being a friend
 {Lyrics – Andrew Gold}

 I traveled home for her funeral, sat with her, cried with her and the family, shared our stories and helped feed all the people who came out in her honor.   They insisted I speak at her service, as it was right I should, and after my brief words to the assembled congregation, supported by Riki and Alisha – I turned to Allyson and whispered those words  …..

….’Thank you for being my friend’.

The devastation I felt at losing my buddy was huge but incomparable to the loss faced by her Children and Husband Andy. Writing this (4½ years later) the tears still flow as fast and as freely for my loss of her.     I still have her in my memories, my photo albums, my recipes  and my conversations.  I can no longer call her at 3 in the morning – just because…. but she is there in the night sky every night, in the life of her grandson and she is there in the wings of a butterfly bringing beauty to the world and peace to my soul.  If there is one thing Ally taught us, it was find something to be thankful for and get on with what has to be done.   I am thankful she was…

There was a wedding to plan – Alisha was getting married to Chris in September so while we were back in New Zealand we took the opportunity to purchase bridesmaid dresses and Jewellery.  The distraction was needed – then it was back to Brisbane and on to the next mission.

Planning Events is something I had done as a career and particularly weddings so I was in my zone.  Alisha was finishing her time as an Apprentice Chef at a Local Golf Club and their functions team were also adept at hosting weddings and of course the Bride had her vision for her dream wedding.  Between us, we put together a wedding surrounded by pre and post wedding get togethers and events that made an almost week long festival.

 Once again we created a mosaic of history, culture and tradition which were skillfully woven together into a unique wedding day for Chris and Alisha.  Who could forget the karanga from our very own Kuia,  Alisha being given away by her brother Riki wearing his grandfathers kilt, the sand ceremony, the blowing of bubbles, the breaking of the wishbones, the amazing meal and of course my speech (or was it a mini seminar).  The bridal Party comprised a mixture of friends and family with Chris’s niece Jordan and Alishas nephew Alex stealing the show.   There were a few surprises along the way with Alisha receiving the family crest from Chris’s Dad,  the secretly prepared bridal waltz that was amazing and the fearsome haka to end the evening.

Always remember and always celebrate

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2 thoughts on “46. 2009 Losing my Buddy and gaining a Son in law

  1. What a truly beautiful tribute to your “buddy”. I wish we all had a friend as loyal as you Janey. You have a lovely heart.

    Like

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