I remember I thought the beautiful brown stainings on all the moldings of the church and the orange carpet didn't match gray paint.
I thought it was ugly. Cold gray against the warmth of the other? I thought it was ugly.
And I said so. I was just several years out of school with my design degree and young enough to think that should count for something. It didn't.
It's been close to twenty years and I can't remember what I said. I can't remember what she said. I just remember one thing - I'm not proud of how I acted.
And I say this to her as she cries through the phone. When I want to reach out and touch her and hold her to me and hear the heart that beat closest to mine before any others.
Years from now, baby, when all of this is only a bad memory, there is only one thing that will matter. It won't matter what anyone said, who talked about you and who didn't, who hurt you and who didn't. There is only one thing that will matter. How you acted. When you remember this you will only remember how you acted.
Trust me. I know.
So I tell her it is okay. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I would fight lions for her and I give her permission to take care of herself - not me. To stop crying and stop thinking and stop fighting and be what I raised her to be.
Kind, loving, forgiving, respectful.
And later I lie in the bed and remember the carpet and the paint and tell myself it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. We're good and I know it. I say -
Remember, Rie - if you'd fight lions for her you can do this. You can do this.
She is the only thing that matters in this great big whole mess. The only thing.
Ten years ago it was she - the one who ten years earlier had liked the gray paint - and I - the young disrespectful one who didn't - that redecorated that lovely building from one end to the other.
She and I who redid everything - except the gray paint - together. Who put down new carpet that makes gray and brown work and ate lunch together and shopped together and laughed together. She who became one of the greatest mentors and friends I ever had.
And eight years ago when I stood beside her grave and listened I thought about that. Those good times. I don't remember thinking about the argument, maybe I did, but I only remember looking at the flowers on her grave and knowing I would miss her.
Because- if you let it- time heals, baby girl, time heals.
Trust me, I know.
So today when more pain layers on I keep reminding myself - remember your lessons learned. Remember God's grace displays in lessons learned. Remember, you can't teach her what you won't do yourself. Remember, Rie. Remember.