This is a letter i sent to a friend a few years ago. She was the most amazing example of TOWANDATUDE in a woman that i have ever known. So, in her honor i am re-sharing it today. We all know someone like this in our lives. Celebrate them while they are still with you.
For Vicky, with love.
Five girls. A shell rock road. Brazilian pepper trees and Maleluca's. Laughter, teasing, we are fifteen years old. She tells me a story. The story of the day i got us locked in the elevator on purpose at "Richard's Department Store". I don't remember this. It's selective memory due to shame. The days were longer then it seems. So much time to do what we wanted. We didn't look too far into the future, not much further than October & the Carnival that came to the J.M.Fields parking lot.
Now, she tells me a new story. That her illness has invaded a new location. She is angry and heartbroken. We all try and console her. No one really knows what to say. I want to say how i love her. How i have always admired her strength. Her ability to go the second mile. Does she know that we all say how loving and caring she is ? How proud we all were when she became a police officer ? The girl from West Gate who rose above. The first one to get a job, and sneak us all in to the movie theater. She would go home at the end of those days and babysit her younger siblings including a baby brother with Down Syndrome. All while the rest of us were still dreaming of boys...
Oh this disease is a cruel, vicious thing. It seek to destroy. You take your victims by surprise. Healthy, vibrant ones, unsuspecting. You weren't able to take this one so easy. This one is a fighter, this one is a Towanda! girl. You met your match and five years later she still stands !
And we are standing with her. On that shell rock road. We are holding your hands. Your girls are surrounding you with love, with thoughts of admiration. We are sending strength. We are shouting out to you from wherever we are, "We love you and we are standing with you, You are not alone".
I tell her a story. A story of balmy days, the breeze singing in the Australian Pines. White sandy roads beneath our bare feet. The sweet smell of the night blooming Jasmine. I can hear the sound in the distance of the Carnival...