17 September 2009

Those Who Inspire: My Sister Caley

I'm having a hard time of thinking about things to write about lately. My life is fairly uneventful now that I'm working. Work, play with Benny, make dinner, put Benny to bed, go to bed. So, I thought I'd start a semi-regular post about those individuals in my life who have inspired me.

I'm going to start with Caley, my oldest friend, who I consider family.

Caley and I met when we were six. Her dad owned the farm a mile away from my parents' farm. Her parents were divorced, so she spent summers in Brule. To be honest, Caley scared me for the first ten years of our friendship. Not scared in a bad way, but scared in the way she fearlessly tackled every aspect of her life. Plus, she lived in Omaha. That seemed like such a huge, cool place when I was six years old.

For those first ten years we rode her motor bike, swam in creeks and ponds, and generally cavorted around our respective farms.

When we were teenagers, she started smoking and drinking and dating guys. I, on the other hand, didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't date guys. And I thought she was SO cool. I was the nerd, she was the cool girl. Despite our differences we remained friends. And despite not seeing each other for nine months out of the year we remained close.

Then we went to college. Drinking, partying, making out with boys. We had a grand old time. And then we had a falling out. As I recall, it was mostly due my issues. Caley has always been one of the most faithful friends I've ever had. We spent a few years "finding ourselves."

We remained in touch, but I can't say that we were particularly close.

About five and a half years ago Caley called out of the blue. We don't talk on the phone much, so it was a little out of the ordinary. She was calling to tell me that her mom wasn't doing so great. Her mom, Maggie, was like a mom to me for a better portion of my early 20s. She was an amazing woman who was battling cancer. We planned for me to spend a weekend in Omaha so I could visit Maggie and say goodbye.

Then I got the worst call imagineable. Maggie passed away. And I went to her funeral. And I watched Caley grieve in the most touching way possible. This woman, this friend of mine, lost the most important person in her life and all I could do is to be there. I tried, but realized recently thatI failed her. As a friend.

Five years later, Caley visited me in Denver. We have merged again, on a similar path. This time it's more meaningful than booze and boys. Our beliefs - about women, about working, about the earth and ecology, about many things - are very similar. Somehow we found each other again. She made me care about many of those things. I finally asked her, after five years, how she was doing. She broke down. And I realized that she has been carrying this burden of grief for five long years and I had no idea.

Caley has inspired me in so many ways. She is a master gardener, she loves to read, she can bullshit with anyone. She is gorgeous and gracious. She is good with her hands and she is good with her heart. I am proud to call her my friend. My sister.

Caley, if you read this, I love you. And thank you for always being a friend to me - even when I wasn't open to it.


Katy said...

That was awesome! I loved it.

April said...

Wow! What a touching description of the way true friendship often unfolds. Caley is lucky to have you, just as you are her!

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of account of friendship and love that a person rarely gets to hear about oneself. How often do you actually tell your friends how much they mean to you? Most of the time, it's too late and you are saying it at their funeral. I am Caley and I've got a friend like Sara, who told me. Best damn sister in the world!