Shawn is a gem of a person. To say I’m lucky to have her in my life is an absolute understatement. She has been part of my family of choice since 2001. She has seen the best parts of me, the worst parts of me, and everything between, and she has always been a supportive rock.
Shawn was one of the first people I met when I moved to Salt Lake City for college. We were both shy, awkward, and a little weird, but we were drawn to each other like magnets. We built our relationship on laughter, which first started with us poking fun at the world around us, doing zany things, and enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Even when things got difficult with school, work, family, or life in general, we could always find a way to make each other laugh.
After I graduated college I went through a very depressed time. I hated my life, my job, and who I was. Shawn reached out to me effortlessly, and forced me to walk with her around the park so I could clear my head and talk things out with her. These walks became therapeutic for both of us, and there were times when we would circle the park four or five times until we had exhausted our brains. I don’t think I’ve ever told her this, but there were many times after these walks where I would go home and cry, a curious mix of brisance and exuberance, for having someone to unload my thoughts.
There was a three year period where I was receiving a lot of criticism for maintaining my relationship with Shawn. There was someone in my life who didn’t value her as much as I did, and maybe that’s because this person didn’t take the time to appreciate her. When I moved to Portland I felt I lost my best friend, because I wasn’t able to see Shawn so regularly. There was a grieving period, but I tried to make the effort to talk to her, and there were times when I would walk around the park in my neighborhood while I was on the phone with her, as a reminder of the times we had together.
I talked to her today on the phone, and I’m amazed at how our lives have changed so dramatically in the last decade. I live in a different city, while she owns a house and is married with more pets than I can keep track of (but she’s not a crazy cat lady, anymore). I was reminded how easily she can make me laugh, how her sense of humor aligns with my own, and how much I love and value her. It has been six months since I’ve seen her and I miss her every day. I know that one day we will walk around the park again soon and pick up right where we left off.