“Real Moments” and “There is beauty in truth.”- the two tag-lines backing Kimberly Hatch Photography. As we all know all to well, the truth that to leads beauty usually isn't all that beautiful... depending on your outlook anyway.
It was a week ago today that I received the news that one of the closest people in my life had passed. The word “friend” fails to do justice to the relationship I have had with Becky, (aka my Beckalina) over the past thirteen years. Lacking the confidence in the ability to elaborate on and put into words what she meant to me, instead I am going to write about my yesterday evening...
It had been seven long days and nights of intermittent sobbing and constant thoughts of you. Reflecting upon favorable memories and moments shared. Sprouting thoughts of regrets and “what ifs.” Feelings of gratitude of having had known someone so indescribably amazing as you. Seven days of dreading this one day that had now fallen upon me. The day of your wake. The day that all of us who loved you oh so dearly had to face the fact that we had not been caught in a web of the same bad dream. This was the day that we had to say “goodbye” (for now at least.) Fifty degrees in mid February but rain, rain, RAIN. Not so inviting. Needless to say, I did not want to leave the house. I did not want to wake up from this hazy nightmare to accept reality. I did. We did. Myself, Alex and Tristan. Yes, I brought my five week old son to a wake. Why? Because you, Becky, one of the people I was most looking forward to sharing Tristan's life with had yet to meet him. Regret.
For as much as I did not want to attend, I knew it would be healing because of the people you had in your life. Because of the shared friendships we had. Amazing people. Open arms. Connected weeping souls.
I won't replay every vivid moment, you were there. I will however document the remainder of my evening with you because I do not want to ever forget.
When I was a child my parents brought me to the Springfield Civic Center to see Sesame Street Live. Boy was I prepared. I had made a batch of peanut-butter cookies to give to the one, the only, Cookie Monster. Curtain drops, the act had wrapped. My opportunity had presented itself but this shyest of shy, petite little girl wanted to back out. Nope, did not want to do it. My father, the king of “you can do anything you put your mind to” wouldn't let me off the hook that easily, though. He gave me the gentle nudge and encouragement to move forward. Not wanting to disappoint him, I did it. I pushed forward past the anxiety to reach my frail freckled arm high into the air and hand off the ziplock baggie of cross-hair imprinted cookies.
Back to present moment, as I was sitting in the far back corner of the room while memories were shared by just a few people, I could feel my opportunity slipping away. Alex and Tristan were in another room. The poor little man had the hick-ups. “Jeff, can you go check on Tristan for me?” I had hoped that he had halted his whimpers and that Al would bring him back just in time for me to cease the moment. Jeff came back but the baby did not. I hesitated. I didn't have the “right” words to say but I had the need to say them anyway. Then I thought of Cookie Monster. I stood and sought out my little boy. *Swipe.* I hesitated again. “Go back to the door I had left from, the one I felt comfortable with, or reenter via the front of the room...in front of EVERYBODY?” I took two steps back until I pivoted and took the remaining forward. Oh shit. “That concludes the ceremony.” The guy in a tan on tan suit stated as he picked up the podium and walked towards me. I walk in and mumble to him something along the lines of, “Can I go up?” Eye contact but no response. Ah fuck it.... I took the bull by the horns and walked into the fire with Tristan in my left arm. “This is awkward.” Those were my words as half the room looked at me and the other half had their backs turned with their coats partly on. Those were my epic final words to you. I turn and begin to walk away. “KIMMMM” I hear from ¾ of the way into the room. I look and think it's my good friend Erica but I'm clouded by fear and emotions and it just as easily could have been your voice calling out to me. Then again “KIMMMMM.” This time it wasn't just Erica but an onslaught of voices. Ok I'm doing this.
I turn around and reclaim my vulnerable position front and center, in front of God knows how many people with no podium to hide behind. A scramble of words come out of my mouth and then a holler from a nice man in the crowd, hushing everyone and seeking their attention. Eyes on me. Lots of them. “Hi, I'm Kim. Becky was one of the closest people in my life. The last time I saw her (I say as I look over my should to your casket) was at my baby shower.” I had to pause. The words just couldn’t come out through my emotions, tears, and the heart that was jammed up into my throat. “I'm kind of up here for selfish reasons. Becky hadn't met my son yet. I was really looking forward to their friendship because Becky loved kids so much. They hadn't met yet so I thought he could meet all of her loved ones instead. This is Tristan. Tristan, this is Becky's life.”
Needless to say, the words I spoke last night did not come out so fluently through all of the tears. The insecurities had stuck with me afterwards but my God how fitting was that moment. You Becky were the queen of anxiety and social awkwardness. That we shared. We also shared the best sort of friendship. The kind where the worst of insults ques genuine laughter and simultaneously the warmest feeling of being loved. You win, you had the last laugh by playing God in that moment and setting me up for the most socially awkward moment possible.
Thank you for making me feel so loved even when you were dishing the ugliest of insults and setting me up for one last laugh at my expense.
To you, knowing you and loving you- Kimba