Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From Sherwood Park to Mumbai

Some of the greatest friendships are those that happen in the oddest of ways: a chance meeting, or a simple hello that turns in to a life long friendship. I have been blessed to have a few of those come my way. In fact that is exactly how I met the Queen. A chance meeting on a boat at a friends wedding. At the time she happened to be dating the best man. Thank goodness she was, because it allowed our paths to cross. To this day she is a very dear friend, and I am thankful to have her in my life. She herself met her best friend in line at a winery. That is the thing about friendship. Sometimes you just never know where it will start or where it will end up.

It has been almost 15 years since I lost my mum to cancer. I think about her a lot this time of year. I generally think of her often, but this time of year it is a little more frequent. Thinking of her and that time in my life always reminds me of a dear friend of mine who is very close to my heart.

While I was going through the devastation of my mum's illness and knowing her time with us was short, a girl who I went to high school with was killed in a tragic car accident. I knew her--not well--but I knew her enough to know the incredible loss those close to her were going through. One of those people was her best friend Tania. Tania and I had mutual friends, but we didn't really know each other and probably had never even spoken to each other. Tania worked at a local coffee shop that my friends and I frequented. I felt drawn to her knowing she was dealing was an incredible loss in her life and knowing that soon I would also be dealing with a loss beyond anything I could ever describe. I had decided to buy her a card to let her know that although we didn't know each other, I was thinking about her and praying for her. I explained my situation and told her if she needed anything to let me know. I gave it to her one night when my friends and I were at the cafe for coffee. I really didn't expect much to come of it, I really had no idea the amazing friendship and journey that would begin from that simple gesture.

As we were getting ready to head home, Tania approached us and thanked me for the card. She asked if I wanted to stay and chat and she would drive me home. So as my friends left, I stayed and the rest was history. While our stories were very different--and perhaps our grief was different--we were both hurting. We both understood the depth of what the other was going through. Long after the last customer went home and she had shut the place down we were still talking. We became each others confidants. For me, she became a life line. As many amazing and loving people I had in my life at that time, I often think had it not been for her I don't know where I would have been. She was everything I needed, whenever I needed it. It was her house I was sleeping at the morning my dad called to tell me mum was gone. It was her who drove me and my dear dear Lori to the hospital. It was her who after my mum's funeral took me home and sat in the dark with me for hours in total silence. My friendship with her is one I never have and I never will be able to adequately express in words.

Given the depth of struggle at that time in both of our lives, our friendship went through a lot of ups and downs--some of which, at the time--I am not sure either one of us thought we would be able to overcome. But 15 years later and a whole lot of miles between us, a long time between phone calls and emails, and 2 or 3 years in between visits she is still as important to me as she was that first night at the Coffee Cafe in Sherwood Park, Alberta. We both know what we mean to each other, and we both know that place we hold in each others lives is never going to change.

Tania lives in India. She has been there doing AMAZING things for the children living on the streets and slums of Mumbai. She turned a chance meeting with some children over 10 years ago into an amazing organization. Please take a minute to read about her and One! International. Click HERE for the website.

When Chris and I were living in Boston, we had the opportunity to twice meet up with Tania in New York City. This past year we were able to meet up with her and her mom in Bellingham, WA for lunch. I miss her dearly and think of her often.

Who has made an imprint on your life? What friendships happened in a chance meeting that today stand as some of the most special ones?

1 comment:

QueenieCarly said...

I love this story, Evey. I love that you value this friendship so much and I think it's beautiful that you and Tania are so close and always will be despite whatever physical distance is between you. You're such a beautiful and amazing friend. I bet Tania is, too. <3