A Best Friend Could Be Just a Phone Call Away...
The early days
About 8 years ago circumstances in my life had me actively looking for a new place to live. My first thought was North Carolina. Fate had other plans for me. One phone inquiry led to another and my final destination was set, Floyd Virginia here I come.
One of my many calls when deciding to move to Floyd was to Faith Mountain Farm. I found their company on the internet. Liz and Bill Garthly were making goats milk soap and lotions. With nothing to lose I called one day and introduced myself, I explained I was moving to the area and was wondering if they would be willing to chat about the business environment in their area. I explained to Liz that I also was planning on expanding my line of products and hoping to sell at farmers markets. At the time my business was called The Mischievous Carrot Farm (today it has been renamed to Thistle Hill Botanicals).
Liz explained that her family was coming in from Pennsylvania for the weekend and she was getting ready. She asked if I could call her after Tuesday of the following week. I did just that.
Liz sounded so young over the phone, I really did not know her age at all. She was smart and sweet, willing to share and answer questions. We got to know each other over the phone in the early days. She suggested that the next time I came to Virginia to work on my house that I could stay at her home.
When I pulled in the driveway I was greeted with a warm smile by a lovely woman with shoulder length gray hair. I did not realize at that time that I had met one of my very best friends ever. She was so young at heart, so in touch with the current times. I think she was around 70 when I met her that day.
After my move here Liz and I got together, went out often for breakfast, spoke daily and shared our feelings. When I first moved here it was in the month of November, the markets did not start till late spring so I had no income. I had just a little to live on but in spite of that I was happy to have made the move. Every now and then when we got together she would bring a care package for me….there were always a few bars of soap, a roll of paper towels, and of course some TP. How thoughtful is that!
Liz and Bill live in a large round home on the top of a hill. They are the keepers of a herd of goats, a donkey named Sassy, cats, dogs, and of course chickens. I call this heaven. Before retiring from the soap making business a few years ago the goats provided the milk that went into the goats milk lotion and soap. Now they have all retired.
Here we are seven years later. Our friendship has not skipped a beat, until now. Soon my best friend will go on the last journey of her lifetime. Just under two months ago Liz was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. A horrible blood cancer that has no cure. It does have some treatments however her strength is faltering fast and she is not a candidate for the treatments. The progression and weakening of her body’s systems and of her bones has been swift. Her kidney’s tried to shut down and after a week long hospital stay with transfusions and fluids she is back home for a bit. All of us close to her know what will happen soon.
The moral of the story
I have done what I can, all I know….I have made food. Every Sunday since the diagnosis I brought dinner to the family-whoever was there visiting. I visited and ate dinner with Liz & Bill and her family. I watched my best friend go from eating like a bird, to eating just about nothing. When Liz was in the hospital I went in to feed her and give Bill a little break. One of her sons was able to stay here in Virginia to help care for his mom and help with the farm chores.
In front of her I stayed strong. While at home this has rocked my world. I have been going further and further down the rabbit hole. When I am able I think of the good times, how much I have learned from Liz about love, caring and patience I am so grateful she is in my life.
There is a very special place for people like Liz in heaven. She has had her strong faith to lean on during this time. She seems to be at peace with all of this. (I am not taking it all with the level of grace that she is)
The moral of the story, treasure your friends and the ones you hold dear. Let them know you love them, offer lots of hugs and support. One day it will be too late.