Just prior to quitting time on Friday, I got a call put through to my desk . It was the kind of phone call that we all dread.
My best friend, the woman I lived with during my university days, giggled with uncontrollably, and knew me before I was married, had a child, or knew the weight of being a responsible adult, had died.
We hadn’t seen each other in too long.
As with many conversations between women my age, our last digital conversation this week had ended with, ” We should get together soon.”
That was the last thing she wrote to me. My friend, who was going to be a great novelist. Who giggled as we staggered home from middle-of-the-week-nights out, and egged me up onto the stage on my 21st birthday to sing a Hank Williams song.
We won’t be getting together soon. I’d feel sorry for myself, but my heart is breaking for her children who will not be seeing their mother again.
In honour of Women’s Day, I waxed my mustache.
She would have liked that. She had my sense of humour.
My friend was one of the first women who shared my passion for feminism and free speech.
She was there for me when my mother couldn’t be. What I mean is, my mother was one of those women who felt trapped her entire life because she was a woman. She never had an opportunity, or the support we often give one another as women, to realize our worth, our power, and our innate depth as women.
International Women’s Day is a day I try to honour every year for that reason. My best friend and I spoke up, protested, railed against the patriarchy if only in our university theses and ability to drink anyone under the table during informal debates.
And then life happened. We got married, went back to school and had children in alternating patterns, and time became an enemy. Time is the greatest of gifts, and we all need to be more careful how we spend it.
During Women’s Day and Mother’s Day, my phone lights up with messages and thoughts from friends and colleagues. I have the best women friends.
On this Women’s Day I am so thankful to be going out with friends as a balm for my grief. My gregarious friend will be looking down on me, or perhaps even the devil on my shoulder, while I swig a cold beer and toast her joi de vivre. Women’s day also involves receiving token recognition from organizations that keep the systems running in such a way that ‘Women’s Day’ is necessary.
Women very much live in patriarchal construct of time. This mostly includes honouring the 9-5 grind on top of fulfilling the much undervalued drives of mothering and our need for connection.
Let Women’s Day remind you this year of how important it is to spend time with our gal-pals. Let it be a reminder for you, above anyone else, to prioritize and respect the energy you put in to how you spend your time.
Happy Women’s Day to all of my dear friends, regardless of gender and age.
Go out there, and make some memories. Remind us all that we have safe harbour, infinite potential, and reasons to laugh until we can’t catch our breath.