Last year, during Spring Break week, David and I decided to head to Charleston, SC for the day. We were very tight on money, but we crunched the numbers and figured that if we were careful, we could afford it. We took a picnic lunch and bottles of water, so that we wouldn’t have to spend money for anything except gas. We intended to visit Patsy’s grave and then let the girls play on the beach for a couple of hours before heading home.
We drove straight to Summerville. I drove up Dorchester Road, feeling an odd mix of excitement, anxiety and sadness. I turned into the cemetery and around the perimeter road. I’d only been there once before, but I remembered exactly where to go. The girls and David paid their respects and then he took them on a walk so that I could have a moment.
I am not a religious person, nor am I particularly spiritual, but I sat down on the grass by the stone and I spoke to Patsy as though she was right there with me. I told her how I was doing so much better, how I was fighting my addictions and how much I wished she could have met David. I told her that her husband and children were doing so well and that I know she’d be proud of them. I left her a flower and David made a charcoal rubbing of the stone roses etched into the headstone.
I said goodbye and we headed to the beach. On the way, we stopped for gas. We decided to throw caution to the wind and bought a $2 lottery ticket. I scratched it off, and amazingly, I’d won $100. One hundred dollars… we were ecstatic!
That money made all the difference in our budget, erasing the guilt of taking a day trip while we were unemployed. I told David that it felt like Patsy had something to do with it, as thought she was signaling her approval. I knew then, and I know now, that there was no logic behind that feeling… but still, the feeling was strong.
We spent the remainder of our spring day on the sand at Isle of Palms. The girls ran through the surf and floated in the tide pools, collecting all manner of dead sea critters and shells that they insisted we must take home. It was a beautiful day, made more so by my visit to Patsy’s grave.
My friend would be proud of the woman I am today. I wish that I could tell her how much I valued her friendship. I have learned to appreciate the people around me and not take any moment for granted, because we never know when we might lose the ones who mean the most to us.
I love you, Patsy girl. You are missed, always.