Today, my best friend, Allison, would have turned 41 years old.
I find it hard to believe that she has been gone 11 1/2 years. The time that we shared together seems like only yesterday – as if no time has passed at all. Then again, it seems like an eternity since I’ve seen her face or heard her infectious laugh.
When she died, I seriously didn’t know how I could or would go on. I know that may seem silly to some – she wasn’t even a “relative”, but we had such a strong bond. And she was so much larger than life. And a much better person than I could ever hope to be.
But enough about me. Today is about her. Instead of focusing on her death, I try to remember the way she lived. And what better day to honor that than on her birthday.
Allison NEVER met a stranger. I’m somewhat introverted and keep my guard up until I feel things out and figure out what I have in common with someone…. and I’m HORRIBLE at small talk. She would talk to ANYONE (and enjoyed it!!!). Anytime we were in a place for longer than….oh, 30 seconds….she would strike up a conversation with a stranger. I never understood how she was able to get someone’s entire life story in the short amount of time we would spend in a check-out line. I may or may not have made fun of her for this…but I secretly envied her ability to talk to anyone without getting tied up in knots inside.
Allison ALWAYS saw the best in others…even when they had already shown her their not-so-best. I remember that once, there was a person who notoriously used others for things that she needed and asked to start working out with Allison. Allison asked my opinion, and, being the cynic of the relationship, I told her to watch her back because the history spoke for itself. Allison was so kind and caring, though, that she decided to give this woman a chance. And even though we later found out that this woman was using Allison for an alibi to cheat on her husband, I always admired Allison for being willing to give her a chance. Like God said about His creation after it was made – Allison was good. She was just good.
Allison was an AMAZING mother. She loved her kids fiercely…STILL loves them fiercely. She focused on the important things. She wanted them to be decent and loving human beings. She wanted them to know they were LOVED. I could tell story after story to illustrate this. Even when she was nearing death, they were at the forefront of her mind, because her last words to me were asking me to promise to take care of her babies. Witnessing her love her children made me a better mother.
Allison was tough. She would bend over backwards for people; give them more second chances than they deserved; see the good when there wasn’t much good to see, but she was NOT a pushover. You did not mess with Allison or anyone she loved. She fought for what she believed in….which was usually some liberal cause. 🙂 She was so amazing.
Allison dressed me. It’s true. I’m a terrible shopper, but I loved shopping with her. She would practically throw things in my arms then tell me to go try it on. Me?? I need to see it matched on a mannequin. (Except running clothes. I’m good for running clothes shopping. 😉
And….Allison was a runner. I am, without question, a runner today because of her. (She tried pretty hard to convert me when she was alive…I can’t imagine she would let death get in her way. NOTHING got in her way.)
One of my favorite stories of her: She was a nurse and was working at the Bonham hospital. (She had worked at Children’s ER for the longest after moving to Bonham, but as the kids grew, she felt it more important for her to be close to home.) When she first went to work there, she worked as a respiratory therapist. She would get SO aggravated at the employees that took smoke breaks every hour. It mainly irritated her because they were “health care professionals” that didn’t take good care of their health. But the fact that they got 30 times as many breaks as non-smokers chafed her hide. Most of us would just continue griping. But Allison? Allison went to a convenience store and bought candy cigarettes so that she, too, could take “smoke” breaks. Of course, I would have laughed at the idea and I might have even bought the cigarettes, but I would NEVER have had the nerve to follow through. That’s where Allison was different from me. She marched her happy ass right outside with the rest of the nurses on smoke break and “smoked” her candy cigarettes with the rest of them, just to prove her point! I can’t remember how long she carried this on, but she was completely satisfied that she had gotten her point across. Goodness, I miss that spunk!
I’ve long said that the world became a darker place the day that Allison’s light went out. She truly was a lighthouse to those who knew her. I wish that I could convey what an amazing and wonderful person she was to those that didn’t know her, but it is simply impossible to describe her accurately. I hope my feeble attempts here have given you a clue that she was nothing short of amazing.
Allison, you are loved. You are missed. Our hearts will forever ache. I still think of you every single day.