On the plane ride back from L.A., I was looking out the window and contemplating the last nine months of my life. Talk about life changing experiences, these months have been like living in a dream. When I took that leap of faith, quit my job, and published my first books, I had no idea what would happen. I assumed I would be working at the 7-11 by now, but the fates had something else in store for me. As I stared out the window, I wondered how all this came to pass. I thought, "I must have a guardian angel." At that moment, I was overwhelmed with a sensation of being enveloped by a warm hug. Tears began to well up in my eyes and I knew who it was.
Franny was my son's Godmother. I loved her like the older sister I never had. She was ten years older than me, but we connected. She was the one person who did not turn on me when I came out of the closet. Franny said, "You found someone to love you and it just happens to be a woman. I still love you and I will always love you, no matter what." She stood by me when everything around me was chaos. I loved her more for that. Sadly, Franny died of cancer several years ago.
The last time I saw her, I had gone home to NC to visit. I knew she wasn't doing well, but I had no idea how bad it had become for her. I walked into her bedroom and found my big strong Franny now weighed barely 90lbs. I had not seen her in a year. We talked frequently on the phone, but she was never one to go on about her health. I was shocked and began to cry. She was sitting in a chair and reached out to me, taking me in her arms. Franny said, "Honey, don't cry. I've lived a good life. My grandchild was just born and now my life is complete. I'm going away, but I will always be with you."
We talked for an hour. My heart was breaking, but even in her state, she was funny and laughing. She spent that last hour with me telling me to live my life, not the one that was expected of me. She encouraged me to write. She was one of the few people I had ever shown my writing. Franny said, "You have a gift. Pursue your dream, baby girl."At the end of an hour, she was growing tired. I picked her up out of the chair, cradled her in my arms, and carried her to bed. She hugged me tight and I cried while she smoothed my hair. She whispered to me, "You know I'll never see you again, but know this, I will always be with you. I'm going to be your angel, sweetheart. You call me when you need me and I'll be there. I'm going away, but I will not leave you." She died five days after my visit.
Her passing devastated hundreds of people. Franny was one of those people that everyone loved. After her funeral, the women walked down the street wearing purple hats of all shapes and sizes, followed by the men in attendance, to a huge party on the waterfront, as Franny had instructed. She wanted no tears, but a celebration where her friends could lean on each other. There were tears, but mostly laughter. Franny was one of kind and even in the end she wanted us all to be okay with her passing.
I will never forget Franny. I will never forget how she lived her life and how she loved and was loved by so many people. She was taken from us too soon, but I know that was her on the plane yesterday. I heard her voice say, "Honey, I told you to pursue your dream and I am with you." So Franny, my dreams are coming true and I know you are with me. Thank you for believing in me. I love you and miss you. You are my angel. Thank you for giving me wings.