Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In memory of a dear friend

I have been working on keeping this blog more updated and useful for readers. Some of my favourite blogs have a little bit of everything and I guess that mine does as well. 

I am making a bit of a departure today from tutorials and recipes to write about something close to my heart. 

This month I am making an extra post in honour of one of my dearest friends. She passed away four years ago and I am thinking about her and her family today.
 
Today I am missing my friend. We met as roommates in Residence at SAIT many years ago. I didn’t know at the time that a random assignment made by the Residence directors would bring one of my very best friends into my life. 

The first time we met I was struck by her vibrancy. Brandi seemed to radiate with energy, exuberance and life. She lived every experience fully, every day and was willing to take a chance if she needed to. She could make a person feel like a million bucks with just a few words and almost never missed the opportunity to do it. She would flash her brilliant smile and it was infectious, you could not help but smile back.

I think we were both a little nervous, each meeting the stranger we would live with for the next 8 months of our lives. We had a few tests of our combined patience in the first couple weeks; faulty plumbing on day 2 resulted in a flood of our apartment & several below us, a broken refrigerator and a few other adventures that make me laugh when I think back on them. We laughed about them then and we became good friends. We kept a carton of Oreo ice cream in the freezer in case of emergency – If either of us had a bad day or needed a pick me up we knew we could pull it out, grab a couple spoons and sit down to eat ice cream and have a chat. Ice cream and good company always seemed to make things a little better. To this day I cannot eat Oreo ice cream without thinking of Brandi. 

I will be forever grateful that I got to spend those 8 months as her roommate and the years after that as her friend. She taught me how to embrace everything that life gives us and to take a chance and try something new. She challenged me to step outside my comfort zone; however I am glad that she liked my more timid self too! 

After she graduated from SAIT, I was in awe when she said she was moving to Hay River, NWT to work at the radio station. I thought she was so very brave going off to follow her dreams that way. At the time, I was working at a job I did not particularly like and was dreaming of taking a chance and trying something new myself. I was very excited for her and wished that I could be as brave. 

I visited Brandi in October that year – I shopped for weeks for things that she asked me to bring with me and I brought all the trimmings (complete with instructions on how to cook everything from my Mom) for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great time! The dinner turned out great and I was so glad to get to spend time with my good friend. We talked for hours, checked out the town, she introduced me to her friends and we even checked out the nightlife and made a few new friends of our own. 

I loved to see her whenever our paths would cross. It was not always as often as we would have liked, but we tried to stay in touch with phone calls and letters in between.  It often seemed like no time had passed in between visits, even if it had been a few months or longer. She stood up with me at my wedding, I was grateful to have her and my friend Julie by my side that day. We made a beautiful trio that day, my girls and I.

I was in Saskatoon the weekend she passed away. I had the feeling that something was terribly wrong all weekend. I could not place exactly what it was but I could not shake the feeling. When her Mom tracked me down a few weeks later and told me I was shocked, but I knew immediately what had been wrong that weekend. That was the weekend I lost one of my best friends.
I am not the only one who misses her and thinks of her often. Her passing affected everyone she had known in her life, her family, friends and community.  

Her mother set up the Brandi Costar Memorial Endowment Award at SAIT as a legacy to her daughter. The story is here http://sait.ca/alumni/givingtosait/makedonation/impactstories/index.shtml under “Labour of Love”.

Tonight I will hold my daughter a little closer, a little longer and let her know how much I love her. I will embrace every moment today and every day and take a chance sometimes just to see what happens. I will remember my friend and all the fun we had together. 

Brandi, I wish that I had the chance to say goodbye and tell you how much you and your friendship meant to me. Actually, I sincerely wish that I had not had to say goodbye at all, until we were old ladies but unfortunately that was not to be. Thank you for all the late night chats, all the fun that we had and everything that you taught me. Thank you for being my friend. I will never forget you.