Alcohol took the nicest girl in the senior class and my heart is broken. Alcohol didn’t care how nice Becky was. Alcohol paid no attention to how fiercely she loved her daughters. Becky was facing unbearable grief, and alcohol used that against her. Becky was friendly, funny, and loyal, and alcohol took her down the darkest path and left her there.
I am a freshman in high school trying out for the Pom Dance team. I love to dance but I am terrified to try out. It is so much pressure and I don’t know if I am good enough. The are so many senior girls on the team and I am intimidated. I look up to them, but I am scared of them too. They don’t know me and they might be mean. I am insecure and I have to dance in front of them with my legs shaking. The only safe place to look is at this one senior girl that I am not scared of at all. I don’t have to be scared of her because she is nice. Her name is Becky. You know she is nice because you can just see it in her face. She has one of those nice faces with kind eyes and a wry smile. She is really friendly. She smiles at me and she smiles at everyone. You do not have to be afraid of her. She can’t be mean, you can just tell. Her natural state is a friendly, wry smile. I don’t think anyone could be scared of her. She is probably everyone’s safe looking place when they try out. She says hi to me and tells me I will do fine at tryouts. I am so relieved. She’s very chill and I feel silly for being so panicked about everything. She gives me the courage to do my best. I will eventually become friends with her and all the senior girls who are her best friends, but I don’t know that at the time. What I do know is that Becky is one of the nicest girls I have ever met and I want to work on being as nice her, especially to freshman girls when I am a big senior. It felt like she saved my life today, and I made the Pom Team!
Becky messages me on Facebook that her and her mom are taking a girls trip to Savannah and if I have any suggestions on where to go, and what to see, since I had taken a trip there with my girlfriends. I tell her the best part is, you can drink wine walking down the street. I tell her where we ate, and drank. I tell her we left the boring ghost tour to go drink more wine. I tell her Mom’s are the best because I know she is as close to hers as I am to mine, and its one of many things we have in common. She agrees and repeats Moms ARE the best.
I am in my hometown, where Becky still lives. We are bummed because we missed running into each other. We decide we will try again next time and plan to give each other a big hug when we see each other! Becky adds me to her Christmas card list and I do the same for her. She reads my blog and tells me she bawled her eyes out when she read what I wrote about a classmate, my prom date, that died in an accident. She feels so sad for his kids, they went to the same daycare as her girls.
My Dad dies and Becky messages me that she thought of me many times today and she hopes I am finding my peace.
Becky admits she is struggling a bit with turning 40, and I assure her that she ages like a fine wine.
Becky and I briefly run into each other, she meets my daughters and we decide next time we will go to the wine bar together. We talk about raising girls since we both have 2 daughters. We talk about how hard it is and how proud we are of them and how much we love them.
Becky recognizes my husband at my hometown fair from my pictures on Facebook and she introduces herself to him. I am not at the fair since I am home for a funeral and decide to stay back at a friends house. Becky makes me feel famous by knowing my husband without having met before and this becomes my favorite story to tell. We plan to get together, just the two of us, next time I am in town.
Becky and I are texting from our homes. We are both drinking wine late at night. The conversation is getting complicated so we call each other instead. We talk about raising daughters and how hard it is and how much we love them and how we are doing our best. The day after our boozy buzz-y funny late night phone call we laugh about it and decide to get our acts together.
After some sober experiments the past few years, I decide to quit drinking for good. I have been sober for 2 months. I heard rumors that Becky may have a serious drinking problem and she is now divorced. I reach out because I learn her mom just died. My heart aches for her. She affirms its the worst thing she’s ever had to deal with. I give her all sorts of advice and support. She is open to all of it. She tells me that she looks for small moments of joy in her days as she is just trying to get through.
I am coming to town so I reach out to Becky. She can’t meet me and is a bit vague about it, which is out of character. I wonder if she is in rehab? I wonder what is going on? I really don’t know anything, but I know she is in a bad spot, and missing her mom. I want to help her. I want to see her. I want her to know I drank too much too. Grief is so hard. I am getting sober and she can too.
Becky reaches out to connect with me and rightfully brag about all the wonderful things her girls are doing. I give her all the love and support I can. I want her to know she’s ok, she can forgive herself for everything, whatever it is, and start today. She is loved by so many. I want to talk about drinking but I don’t know how to bring it up because I don’t really know what is going on. She has never expressed a concern about her drinking to me, and I am not sure its my place to say anything about rumors.
Becky reaches out to share more about her girls and to tell me she is so proud of my bravery for getting sober. She tells me more about her rough year, divorce, friends changing, grief and missing her mom. I sense her depression. I try to give her things to look forward to, I suggest she plan a trip. She thinks about visiting friends and family in other places. She says she is going to work on that and she wants to talk again soon. We end our conversation with heart emojis to each other.
Becky dies from alcohol. I am in my hometown, with my best friends when I hear the news.
To be clear this is not Becky's story. It is my story about my relationship with her. These are not her words, they are mine. I am sharing because I believe this could help someone and I believe Becky would want that.