One day several years ago when I was suffering from depression and anxiety, I came home from work to find a small piece of plywood with a simple painting on it, done in the style of a local artist. Across the top were written these words:
You fearful saints fresh courage take. The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
The words were so lovely, so comforting, that I remember reading them over and over again like a mantra. When I asked Sara where it came from, she told me that Tash had made it for me. Tash.
Tash was Sara’s newest friend, but she seemed somehow, impossibly, one of her oldest friends, too. She was the perfect gift at the perfect time, a friend who knew how to give what others wanted but couldn’t ask for. Tash loved her friends with the fierceness of a pit bull. And she loved her friends’ kids with the intensity of, well, of a mom. I was always so moved by how much “Auntie Tash” delighted in Ben and Lucy, how she would let Lucy stay at her place for hours on end playing with Zoe.
That piece of art is still hanging in our kitchen, and it is still a comfort to me. It’s also a reminder of Tash’s fierce love. When she became friends with Sara, she went all in and adopted the rest of the family, too, including me.
Tash died yesterday after battling cancer for years. She was such a huge presence in our lives—in many people’s lives. I miss her. I’ve run out of words.