I turned 25 right before the New Year. After losing my husband at the age of 31, I realize how much of a gift each year of life is. I hadn’t been out with friends since before Fareed passed. I was determined to have fun and celebrate. I know he would want that for me. I forgot how hard it is to actually get ready. I’m constantly in Mom mode but I’ve also been in grief mode the last 7 months. My best friend came over and we got all fancy. Needless to say the 45 minutes we allowed ourselves was not enough. What did we do in college? I enjoyed dinner and drinks with my boys, parents, and a dozen close friends. It was perfect! I laughed, I cried, but most importantly I felt alive. We told stories over wine. Those friends encouraged and loved me. We went on a walking adventure to find a hidden bar, that bar happened to be closed on Mondays. It eventually got late and I ended up with just my best friend and close friend since sixth grade. We ended up chatting up a table of 7 random strangers, who than became our friends for the night. 5 of those people were in town on vacation from Saudi Arabia. They were funny, kind, and loud. There were two locals, two guys that were close friends. Both married, one with a kid on the way. He was the proudest soon to be dad (next to my husband of course). It reminded me of Fareed so much. I was so proud of this guy. The way he raved about his wife, how excited he was for their new chapter. He asked me about my boys and I couldn’t help but blabber. I told myself I wouldn’t talk about my life to strangers that night. It’s hard for people who don’t know me. But, a couple glasses of wine changed that decision. There it was- my life laid on the table in front of 7 random strangers. Not one of them made me feel weird. We all had a story at that table and no one made a huge deal of mine. They didn’t give me the “I’m so sorry” rant. They just included me in the conversation of 10 random strangers drinking wine together on Park Ave.
If you know me, you know my personality often has me at the center of attention. My best friend is very soft spoken (unless she is hungry). She is not used to being in the spotlight. Those 7 strangers decided that they were marrying my two best friends that night. They ordered bottles of champagne, made the toasts, and rolled a paper ring. We laughed for hours. I will say my two friends were mortified, surrounded by loud comedians. To me it was SO refreshing. I sat and watched my best friend squirm in the spotlight. She was having a blast but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t bright red. Our other friend got up for his check multiple times. For once, the main thing on my mind wasn’t the loss of my husband. I was in the moment soaking it all in. We eventually parted ways- not before exchanging facebooks for the real ceremony one day. I sat there explaining to my friend how happy I was and she knew. And like that a flood of emotions hit me. The whole last seven months replayed in my head. I wasn’t upset though. My night wasn’t ruined. I sat with my best friend for a good while, just crying. We cried together. We have known each other since we were 5 years old. We have been through everything together. The highs and lows. That night she looked at me with teary eyes and said “I never wanted this life for you. I hate to watch you battle this.”
It was beautiful. You may not understand a friendship like ours, but I will say this- we know each other like the back of our own hand. She knows my dreams, goals, aspirations, my parenting style, my favorite foods, my shampoo choices, every story, every ex… She knows it all. And she still loves me.
When I lost Fareed it wasn’t a question to her, she texted my mom and dropped everything to be at the funeral. When I needed help for a couple weeks so my parents could celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary she came to stay. Little did we know at the time, she would make that stay permanent. She loves my kids like her own. We tell stories few can understand.
It’s funny, I planned to write this blog about how I feel my heart, me, coming back. I ended up here. That spoke pretty loud. At the heart of me are the people I care for most. I am driven by the ones I love. I am the definition of a people person. It makes sense to me why I feel so lost. Fareed was my person. He was my other half. It makes sense why I feel so hopeful, so grateful- God surrounded me with family, friends, and strangers in my hardest hour. He gave me two little people to keep me going. He gave me parents who would drop everything to see me ok. Who would do anything to see me smile again. He gave me a best friend who knows me in and out, to bring me back to life.
I slowly feel myself coming back. Im writing lists again. I love structure, I lost that with Fareed. I was merely surviving. I once was a health nut organic mom, that’s coming back to. I slowly feel myself resurfacing. I know it’s a process. I know it will take time. But I miss myself, just as much as I miss Fareed. May 25th not only took my husband, it took my passion, my dreams, my shoulder to cry on, my anchor In the storm, it took me. I’m coming back. I’m more scarred, rough, and lost than I’ve ever been. But I’m also stronger, more alive, and more beautiful than I ever felt possible. I know I’m coming back. I sat with my best friend and laughed about stories past. I may have cried about this chapter, but it didn’t consume me. For the first time in a long time, I could laugh without guilt. I could smile because God gave me Fareed, but he also gave me a best friend.