>(A little long, folks.)

When you hear the word “soulmate” your mind automatically jumps to your SO. And I believe that’s correct to a degree. I believe that your SO should be your soulmate. But I don’t believe that you can only have one soulmate. I have two. I consider, 100%, CareBear, my best friend, to be my soulmate. She is one person who knows everything about me, good and bad, sad and silly, lame and otherwise and still is there for me. Still believes in me. Still loves me. We were talking on the phone the other night and she said, “Do you realize that it is going on 25 years that we have been together?” TWENTY FIVE YEARS!!!!!!! Aside from my family, that is the longest personal relationship I have ever had. There have been some ups and downs. Not like in normal relationships where the “downs” normally consist of fighting and not getting along. But in our BFF relationship where the downs include yucky divorces, breast cancer, sadness at our childrens’ issues. The downs can actually be considered “ups” because we were there to help each other through the low points in our parallel lives.

I don’t even know where to begin discussing this beautiful woman that has shared my life. Where do you start “analyzing” 25 years? I have mentioned her before here (#10) and here.
After meeting we proceeded to wear a path in the grass between our two homes. We spent every day together. We were kind of asswipes at the time. So judgmental of the stupid things that people around us did. We did our fair share of “how could they…?” and “can you believe they…” and “I would never….” It’s almost embarrassing to think about it now. We had no idea how life experiences change a person. We just lived in our little bubble. Our little miserable existence with our spouses, and leaned on each other to get through those times. The trials of motherhood. We helped each other understand that even though we felt we sucked as mothers, that it was OK and we were normal. We would eat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while our kids played with each other. We were fat and happy. Well, she was skinny, and we weren’t happy. But we had each other and our bitch sessions and we survived!
The day I moved away was one of the saddest days of my life. We hugged and hugged and I knew I had to get in my car and drive away but I didn’t know how I was going to leave her behind. I had had many friendships that fizzled once there was distance, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my friend. It was so hard to see her in my rear view mirror waving good-bye. Yet we kept in touch. I called her every day. Our lives became more and more miserable with our husbands and we had no one to commiserate with. Then a funny thing happened. All those things that we would judge others so harshly about, we began doing. What??? People might have reasons for behaving a certain way? That was an eye opening experience for both of us. We talk about that all the time still. “Remember how hard we were on my sister when she….” And there we were. Living outside the bubble. Looking at life for the first time. It’s weird the things that you learn.
When I was going through my divorce, CareBear was right there for me, even though she was 1500 miles away. We talked on the phone every day. Then I got a call from her. “I found a lump in my breast. They’re doing a biopsy and I will have the results in about a week.” We both cried at the possibility of what that meant. Her sister had already had breast cancer. Her aunt had already died from cervical cancer (or ovarian, I don’t remember). Female issues ran rampantly in her family. We knew what was coming but told each other that it was probably something else. I will never forget the day the results came in. The kids and I were at Mark’s house BBQing when the phone rang. I knew before she said a word. I felt it. And I bolted from the room because I didn’t want the kids to see me cry. I sat in the bedroom as she explained to me the type of cancer that it was, and the treatment that she would have to go through. With everything else going on in my life at that point in time, the cancer news put me over the edge. And she taught me another lesson in life. You can make it through anything if you have a sense of humor. Her calls after she’d been puking her guts out from the chemo had me rolling on the floor laughing. She was so strong! I have to laugh because her ex-husband always gave her crap about not being able to “walk up a simple hill.” And it was true. She’d be all out of breath. We went to have pizza one time and she said she was paying for it and I said I was paying. So she RAN into the restaurant and held the door so that I couldn’t get in. I pulled the door open and she came flying out with the swinging door. We laughed so hard because she was NOT strong!! There was nothing about her that was strong. I was the strong one. I thought. Watching her strength as she went through the cancer told me that I was wrong. She was strong! And she helped me survive her cancer. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s true.
When Mark and I got married she had just finished her chemo treatments. She was bald and beautiful!!! (Sounds like a soap opera…the Bald and Beautiful.) She was my matron of honor at my wedding and I was so proud to have her stand up for me when I said my vows. I had a soul mate standing on each side of me. It does not get better than that.
Two years after her first cancer, I got the call that said they had found a lump in her other breast. The mammogram found this one. This is where she fell apart. How could she do chemo again? It was not worth it. She couldn’t fight it. She was at the end of her rope. Another round of chemo. This was a fast moving cancer. They had to be aggressive. This time her strength came from her kids. She only fought this cancer because of her kids. She worried about them constantly through this. What if she didn’t make it. They would be screwed because their dad was, well…how shall I say this…a fuck face! (BFF’s favorite term for him.) She survived the second cancer strictly for her kids. I wish I could say that I gave her the motivation to fight it the second time, but she lived for her kids. That was the bottom line. Even through all this, her sense of humor stayed in tact.
Over the miles. Over the years. Over the heartaches. Over the happy times. We have maintained that unbreakable bond of friendship. We still talk almost every day whether by chat or on the phone. We visit each other every year or so. We remain connected. She is my rock! She gives me strength. I love her. And I wish her the happiest of all birthdays!!
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