There are many that believe that a soul mate is part of a romantic relationship. I have evidence that it can exist in a friendship. Her name is Anita.
Anita and I became friends when we were four. Our family moved to Lambeth, two doors down from where Anita’s dad had built a house. I don’t remember meeting Anita – she was always there.
I was her maid of honor at the tender age of 20 when she married Brian. My speech talked of a childhood of make-belief – zip locs hooked up to trees for IVs and the wheelbarrow as an ambulance. Making forts under the stairs in the basement. It wasn’t until we were teenagers that we realized how different we were from each other. I was a jock and played lots of sports. Anita was a musician and a dancer and played beautiful music. Our temperaments were even different – I was fire and Anita was earth.
Maid of Honor at Anita's wedding when we were 20
By the time that Anita was married, we had both lost our father years back and begun our journey together in healing those wounds. Self-discovery and growth were pillars of our friendship.
In the years and decades that followed, Anita grew up and had a beautiful family with Brian. Two sons are now grown up themselves and share in running the family business, a music school in St. Thomas. I wandered the earth on my own and led a life of adventure. Whenever I came home, Anita was there. She was my rock and my protector.
Early pictures of Anita and Brian with their boys Brendan and Jerrod
Anita passed away on September 28th. Our friendship that spanned half a century has ended. I feel as I would imagine a grown adult who has lost a parent would feel – that there is a void in my life where there was once someone who knew me deeply and loved me anyways. Anita has not been part of my everyday life since the age of thirteen, but she has been part of my everyday BEING.
To know Anita was to understand how light looks in human form. She was a public-school teacher and a music teacher. She incorporated music and dance into everything that she did. Her smile shone a light on all those around her. She was a pillar of her community.
Anita and I in Rockwood 2022
Anita and I at Yoga on the Hill, Ottawa 2019
I am heartbroken that Anita is no longer in my life. Last month, when I saw her for the last time, she had been very ill. She said, “I don’t have much to tell you because I haven’t been doing much”. I replied, it’s ok. This is how I envision it will be when we are old and in our rocking chairs – we will be talking about the old times and the memories of what we got up to.
I won’t grow old with Anita. But I will live the rest of my life with her in my heart. She is simply a part of who I am.
Goodbye Anita. You taught me more about true love than anyone that I have known. I miss you and celebrate you.
2014 at one of my favorite places - Britannia Beach in Ottawa