Last week I lost one of the biggest influencers in my life. My mentor, a friend and more than that, she was like a big sister. My very good friend, colleague, former boss, confidant, inspiration and motivator died in a fire at her home. I can't even begin to describe how torn up I am. How a piece of me has died.
This past Wednesday we had a scheduled "work" call and were suppose to start working together again. I didn't find it odd that she didn't answer or call me back because she was always so insanely busy, but I couldn't get her out of my head. So I texted and told her that I had my hands full with a teething Zoe but was excited to get started and would take her call whenever she had a few free moments. She never got to read those texts. I am still in shock, still expect her to call me back any moment now, out of breath from hiking with her dogs or savoring a delicious glass of red that I HAD TO BUY. I am heart broken.
And to be honest thinking about getting a post up this weekend, had my stomach in knots. What the hell am I doing. My friend is gone. I will never get a response to the last text or email I sent her. Never laugh hysterically/embarrasingly as she cursed about everything. I won't ever call her for career or life advice or vice versa. I won't ever get to hear, "You fucking crazy beautiful domincan, you can do anything you want to do" ever again. (Don't mind the cursing, it is one of the things she did so gracefully that it has to be included, even if it makes me a little uncomfortable).
How do I sit here and post a recipe when she isn't here to read it or reply to my newsletters (like she did to each and every one I sent out)? How do we keep moving and living when others don't get the chance.
And then I think of our last conversation, how she was so proud of how my blog had developed. "It screams you, Natalie, it screams this incredible lady that I have known. I am so fucking proud of you for doing something different and doing it well. Don't let our culture dictate what is right and wrong, you must do YOU. You make YOU happy and the rest falls into place". That was her response to my newsletter that I sent out a few weks ago when I updated the blog. Those are the words I have read and reread.
Our last phonecall was about how happy she was. How she had shed so much negativity in so many parts of her life, how she loved her new gig. How much she loved her "village" in Montana, her home. The place she had always saw as HOME, even before she moved there. Things were not always perfect for her. She was not always as happy as can be, but this woman is one I never saw flustered while making decision of her next step. She was always moving toward happiness. She always held her head up high, even in mistakes and ALWAYS surrounded herself with good people.
That last conversation ringing so freshly in my head, reassure me that I have to keep going, keep writing and keep doing it better than ever because now I know that she is watching. I know she'll know when I half-ass it. I know the exact swear she'd be yelling at me as I sit here in tears, telling me to pour my emotions into something I can see, rather than sit here and cry, "because it's not fucking worth it Natalie, it's not fucking worth it!". I am going to miss you Rosanna.
Going to miss you in a way I can't even put into words but like our friend Marie said (and any of her friends would say) she isn't done. She is not gone. Her spirit will be a part of all of us. Always pushing us to be better, to do more, just like she always did. Because RDLC did not half ass anything. You will be missed my sweet crazy foul mouthed friend, you will be missed. But always know I will carry you with me.
Writing this was so hard, yet so nourishing. But I know I had to do it, not really as explanation or for pity but for those that mourn anyone in their life; so that they are reminded that moving on after a loved one has passed has to be about making that person proud. It has to be about seeking the joy of your relationship, remembering what they taught you and running with it. But it's also about the fact that it is ok that the pain drops you to your knees. It is ok to cry. We would not be human if we didn't hurt, so (when you are ready) feel that pain and put it into something you can see.
So thank you for reading, we'll be back to business around here soon.