By Megan Erbacher
I don’t know how to say goodbye. I’m not sure where to find the words; and the truth is, I don’t want to say it.
How do you tell one of your oldest and best friends goodbye for the last time?
It’s crazy to think what started as prayer partners around second grade — back when we would hide behind our moms at the St. Matthew summer socials — grew into one of the best friendships I could’ve ever been blessed with.
If you’ve ever hopped in the car with me then you know I can somehow get lost on my way home. I just don’t have that whole sense-of-direction thing down. But Chel, she was basically a human GPS. No matter where we were, even in a new city, she knew her way around.
Chel, I’m really lost without you now — all of us are.
I can’t recall how it started; but for as long as I can remember, she was Thang 1 and I was Thang 2. Even if we hadn’t seen each other in person for a while, she’s one of those friends we just picked up right where we left off.
She was full of life. Another friend said it best: it was all or nothing with her. She did everything full force. Man, the girl had some dance moves she could bust out any time. She was the life of the party; a jokester who kept all of us laughing so hard sometimes our cheeks hurt as tears streamed down our faces.
I’ll forever cherish the fun times we shared. I’d run out of space if I tried to list all of our memories: from our borderline obsession with “Monsters, Inc.” and “Holes” and the countless sleepovers to numerous family vacations, our signature one-leg-up picture pose and working summer jobs together — Chel made life more fun. Us girls would jam to Eric Church, TSwift or Bruno Mars, and we attended more concerts together than I can count — way back in the day, we met Dierks Bentley when he opened for Kenny Chesney at Roberts Stadium.
She even peeled my shrimp for me because it grossed me out. That’s true friendship right there, folks. She teased me about it the whole time, but she did it for me because that’s the kind of friend she was.
Chel was one-of-a-kind. My life, and so many others she touched, will never be the same. The world is grayer without her.
Thank you, Thang 1, for your friendship over the years. I’m beyond grateful for the time all of us had with you, but I’m afraid it wasn’t enough. I barely remember a time without you, so it’s difficult trying to figure out how life works now that you’re gone.
I’m still confused by this. I’m not sure when it will sink in. I’m trying — really hard — but it doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair. I’m doing my best to put all my trust in God because I know He has a plan. I suppose maybe He needed a dancing partner or a good belly laugh. Well, without a doubt Chel can give Him that.
She never liked this kind of attention — and I’d bet she’s rolling her eyes right now and giving all of us a look like, ‘Stop crying over me, I’m fine.’
We know you’re fine, but we aren’t, and it doesn’t make this any easier.
My column is called Daily Blessings because I truly believe there are blessings in every day. I know she’s in a better place now. I’m trying to focus on that. She’s in a place where there is endless music for her to dance to, a place where she can spend time with her gramps, and a place I know she will be loved immensely and taken care of.
But selfishly I wish she was still here with us.
The Disney movie “The Fox and the Hound” was another favorite of ours. Having seen it numerous times, we could recite the lines and knew exactly how it all went down, but we still bawled our eyes out every time.
So, Thang 1, this quote from Widow Tweed to Tod the fox is for you: “Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end. But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be.”
I don’t know how to say goodbye to you, Chel. So I won’t.
I’ll be missing you; all of us will, until we see you again.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).