My best friend Libes came from Connecticut. She planned a dinner out for me at a great restaurant with two of my other friends, Sarah and Jennifer.
There were drinks. There was good food. There was friendship.
I'm not much of a drinker. As I said to my friends last night, I get nervous when I drink alcohol in front of other people these days, because the more I have, the more emotional I become. I worry that if the drinks are flowing, so will my tears eventually.
But last night I did not feel a void. I only felt love. I had fun. I forgot about pain.
I actually forgot.
It's true that eventually as I sobered up, the pain came back. It's true that I still missed Rick. But it's also true that the love of my friends was still there.
I think in my 30 years on this earth, I've experienced a lot of pain. Maybe more than a lot of people who have been alive much longer. But all the grief has given me the ability to recognize happiness - true happiness.
My appreciation scale has been adjusted. My gratitude is high.
I have a lot of wonderful things at work in my life. I have a lot of wonderful people too.
Last night, I was with three of them:
A friend who addresses my birthday card as "Other Half," who stands in the bathroom with me trying to calculate at what age our years of friendship will equal half our lives, who picks out what I should wear because "you only turn 30 once," who drives me, who hugs me, who has seen me at my best and worst, who always, always, always takes care of me, who faces life's challenges with me - and we've had our fair share, who invites my friends to a dinner I don't know about, and yes - who even holds my hair and rubs my back when I throw up Sangria and Nyquil at home in my bathroom.
And another friend who brings me a birthday card but makes a point to tell me she has more for me on Wednesday, who spends more time in my house than any other person including my own mom, who medicates my grief with Gilmore Girls marathons and photos of cats, who channels Rick in the things she says to me, who easily fits into conversations with my other two friends of 12 years and 24 years - proving yet again that true friendship is based not on the number of years you've known someone, but on how long it FEELS like you've known them.
And another friend, who despite being 8 months pregnant with twins was a happy member of our little party, who was there toasting to me with a Shirley Temple, who can talk as easily about animals as about theatre, who laughs with me but not at me, who brings me a card and gift when all I need is her hug, who proves that lifelong friendships can really exist, because we roller skated together in tutus 24 years ago at age 6 in her parents' basement, were in each other's weddings, and somehow here we are, tackling life's crazy swerves head on.
Life is unpredictable. So, so, so unpredictable. But these women are not. They're solid. They're my friends. And I couldn't be happier about it.