As a youngster, my dad taught me a game that has saved me from boredom on many occasions. It's called, "Who Am I"? It's played much like "20 Questions". You think of a person that everyone playing the game would know, then pose the question, "Who Am I"? At which point, everyone in the car (yes, this is a road trip game) takes turns asking Yes or No questions to discover your identity. "Are you famous?" "Are you a politician?" And so on. We've gotten pretty ingenious over the years. My dad was once the character Pop, of Rice Crispy "Snap, Crackle, and Pop" fame. Oooh...that was a good one. Took us forever to figure it out. I recently had the pleasure of playing this game "MHS" style while making the five hour drive from Salt Lake to Boise. MHS stands for Madison High school. My Alma mater. Class of 96. IT. WAS. A. HOOT. Here's a sample:
"Were you popular?"
"Did anyone in this car ever kiss you?"
"Were you a cowboy?"
"Were you athletic?"
"Did you graduate in 96?"
As each mystery person was discovered, we roared with laughter. Mostly because we were REDISCOVERING people from our past that we hadn't thought of in YEARS. It was like knowing a foreign language but forgetting that you knew the words. With each name...("Elisha Grover!") came a whole new remembering. "Oh ya, I DO know that person. I know that word!"
Have you ever asked yourself that question, in a complete moment of honesty and introspection..."Who AM I?" I think the time in my life when I asked this question the most, desperately searching for an answer and a sound identity, was during my high school days. High school was not the greatest of times for me. (Confession/News Flash/Shocker: I had an eating disorder. Some of my closest friends had no idea. And yes, you may ask any questions you would like. I am completely "better" now and have no problem discussing the complex and interesting world of eating disorders. But that's an entirely other book. Which reminds me, I want to write a book. But I digress). Eating disorder aside, I never felt like I fit in in Rexburg, Idaho. I was a big city gal trapped in a small town setting. I left the Burg, never to return, never looking back, wanting to put the cowboys, the Mormony Mormons, the guns and farms and boys who never liked me, far behind me. Don't get me wrong, I had great friends. Boy, did I have great friends. Friends that made you laugh until strange things came out of your body. Friends who had the same religious beliefs as I did. Friends who embarked on crazy toilet papering, ski resort philandering, boy spying, costume wearing adventures. We're talking THE GOOD GOOD OLD DAYS. Complete insanity and fun. All the while throwing up and hating my body. Needless to say, I stayed in contact with only a few of these friends over the years, wrongly assuming that we had "different lives", different interests, different goals and lifestyles. I wanted the big apple, they would never leave Idaho--we were just too different.
BOY WAS I WRONG. SO VERY WRONG.
It started those agonizing days in the hospital. First Amy Ferguson showed up (she's one of the few I've stayed in touch with. A true kindred spirit). Next, a package of food from Ashley Webster brought to the hospital by a relative of hers. A bag of food! And a card. Bananas, fruit leather, trail mix. I couldn't believe the thoughtfulness. I just cried. I love her so much. Brooke and Janeese attended the funeral. Now, Janeese and I have seen each other off and on over the years. She was the photographer for our wedding. She is one of my best friends. I love her dearly. I couldn't believe she made the drive with her mother to attend Lucy's funeral. Brooke Mendenhall...well, that was just a shocker. I was overwhelmed with complete gratitude for the love these Rexburg girls were giving to me so freely. A package soon arrived from Leslie Clarke, a beautiful and thoughtful bracelet with small frames filled with photos of Lucy. I cried and cried. I wear it nearly everyday. On Lucy's birthday, Katie Quinn sent a Bonsai tree all the way from Hawaii. Will the tears ever stop? Next, a long, sincere, hand written note from Mandy Webster, who lost her brother 9 years ago to cancer. These girls! I could go on and on. The comments left on my blog (Andrew Black..where are you??? You left a comment but didn't leave any contact info. I must find you). James Clark, Jill Hancey, Rachel Clarke--coming to the funeral! Who does that? These people just came out of the woodwork. I was OVERCOME. I felt like I owed Rexburg an apology. (We used to say on my mission every time we drove across the Iowa state line... IOWA= I Owe The World an Apology).
And this lengthy introduction all for this:
This past weekend was the greatest three days I have had since Lucy passed away. I made the drive to Boise, Idaho with Amy and Brooke, to meet up with 6 other beautiful and amazing women with whom I attended high school. The minute I saw them and was able to embrace them, the tears of gratitude were unstoppable. Oh, how we laughed! And cried ! And laughed and cried. It was like miracle medicine for my soul. These women are beautiful in every sense of the word. They have overcome trials, learned from life's hard knocks, worked their way through the mess of life, to come out stronger, more beautiful and compassionate than ever. Quality women through and through. We each have a story. I am so very proud of the stories they are creating. I am so proud to call them my friends.
These beautiful women organized a little reunion on my behalf. I have rarely felt more loved. I had not only HOURS, but actual DAYS, where I felt "normal". Where the weight of my grief was completely wiped away. It was just what the doctor ordered and more.
The English language (and my knowledge thereof), is woefully inadequate to express the gratitude I have for these women. For this weekend. For hope. For friendship. For the good in humanity. And it's not just these women. It's all of you. I have been paralyzed by gratitude. Not knowing even how to begin thanking all of you. Yes, YOU. The person reading this. The person calling me "just to say hello and see how I am doing." The person sending cards in the mail almost weekly (Scott and Megan). The person praying for me on their knees. The person sending packages in the mail to me, a complete stranger! If you could see my tears, if they could speak, they might be able to do the thanking more aptly than my words. Love does not divide, it only multiplies.
Who Am I?
I am an Idahoan! There, I said it. I am a daughter of God. I am Lucy's mom. I am a friend and a daughter and a wife. I am an actress and a dancer and a singer. I am a beautiful spirit. I am a recipient, perhaps undeserving, of God's love and the love of strangers. And just as my dad taught me this silly game of "Who Am I"? He also taught me this: There are only two kinds of people in the world. Those I love. And those I don't know yet. I love you all.
Fore more photos, details, and stories of my Boise weekend, (and a trip down memory lane as well as some good laughs. My entry was so HEAVY. Janeese will have you rolling in the aisles) click HERE, HERE, HERE
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