Alicia should have been 30 today. Along with many of her other friends, I lit a candle for her, but it’s not enough. I should have been able to call her up, leave a message for her wishing her a happy birthday, maybe even been lucky enough to get to talk with her. I wish I could hear her laugh again (because I feel like I’m almost forgetting what it sounded like), I wish I could see that incredible smile again (because pictures just don’t do it justice), I wish we could talk about things that people who have just turned thirty SHOULD be talking about: life, relationships, babies, and how we are now “old.”
I hate that if she were here now, we would be able to talk about cancer, mortality, and the very real ways in which our bodies fail us, long before we are ready for them to. It’s not fair and not right.
Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve felt like Alicia had a hand in it. Even Emmie being a girl seemed somehow like Alicia’s doing. That’s one of the reasons why Emmie shares a middle name with Alicia Rose. Now I wonder what Alicia would say if she could meet Emmie. I’m so sad that Emmie will never get to meet Alicia.
It snowed today. It was beautiful, floating down in thick flakes. I tried to remember if she liked the snow, being a California girl. I feel like we made jokes about it. I felt that memory slipping away. There’s so much I’ve forgotten already. Those memories that remain I want to keep and turn over and over in my mind until they are polished and warm, like seaglass.
Stronger than any one moment, any clear memory, is the memory of love. When I think of Alicia, my friend, all I feel is the warmth from her smile, the softness of her sweet hugs, the closeness of late night talks. She is love, and always will be.
I miss you, Leashy. You will always be my MOH. Happy birthday.