I heard Garth Brooks sing "If Tomorrow Never Comes..." on the radio the other day. It was the same day that I heard about the unexpected passing of one of my mom's closest friends.
Mama and Martha went to the same high school but didn't become friends until they worked for the same company years later, when I was little more than a baby.
Martha's face grew familiar to me from family campouts, weekends at the Comal River, wedding and anniversary celebrations...but also during times of sadness. She was a friend my mom could count on to be by her side, no matter what.
This photo of Martha and my mom was taken just three months ago at my cousin's funeral. I wasn't surprised to see her there, and I sure didn't think it would be the last time I saw her.
I'm so glad something urged me to pose them together.
But we weren't the only ones Martha stood by. Mama voiced concern to me just a few weeks ago that Martha was doing too much for everyone and not taking care of herself.
"It makes her happy, Mama," I told her. And Mama had to agree. That's what Martha lived for, helping others. She was in her 80's and suffered from back pain and other ailments, but she didn't let it keep her from doing what she loved, being a friend.
"...Cause I've lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed." ~Garth Brooks
I doubt if Martha lived with any regrets, at least none regarding letting others know how important they were to her. I'm going to try to live that way myself.
Martha, thank you for all the years of steadfast love and friendship and laughter you gave my mom. You will be missed.