Hailees Daily Dose Missing That Sunflower Dena Raven

Wow. I have had so much emotion flowing through me today. I have been thinking a lot about my best friend Dena Raven all month. I have missed her so damn much. She would have been here holding my hand the past couple of weeks making fun of life right next to me. Telling me to buck the hell up and quit being scared because I am too damn stubborn and bitchy to be anything else. She always agreed that I should be red headed and from the south. I would always reply “Look who’s talking D.”  Damn. This is hard. It’s like saying goodbye all over again.

Dena had a spirit as bright as the Sunflowers she loved so much.  I could never decipher which she loved better sunflowers or baseball. It was always one of the two right after her family who she loved unconditionally more than life itself. We spent many hours talking about our hope for our children. Wishing we could help their hurts and fix their falls, cursing the ugly things and people in the world who weren’t forgiving of mistakes. I remember very vividly twice planning to get in our cars and teach some people a lesson about life and bringing our kids down. Ironically, we both had a child tied to the same crowd and we were going to hunt them down and give them a Mom lesson they would never forget. We got  amped up and ready to roll. We knew we were both headed to jail and we were good with that. At the last minute we did the rational and right thing and didn’t go but it took everything we had to not do it. Instead we drove around singing, casting imaginary stones at people we thought needed a beat down. 😂 Being mean like that wasn’t who either of us really were, but that’s how important our kids are and we were both mama bears.

When Dena got the salon she finally had accomplished the one thing she really wanted. She was so damn proud of that place and finally doing it. The day she opened it, she was glowing like a Firefly on a dark starry night. That is one of my favorite pictures in my mind of you….

I remember the day that you got the diagnosis. You were scared as hell and I knew it but you kept on that fighting mask. We talked about what we would do and how the doc should just listen to our plan. We spent a lot of time crying that day without saying a word or shedding one tear. In hindsight I think were both in tune enough that we knew…but neither of us were quitters and we weren’t about to let the other one quit. We were like Thelma and Louise. Ride or die to the end baby. That was that.

We had our version of an answer for everything. If only the world would listen and follow us, all of the problems would be solved.

I remember when I was in ICU and out of it for 2 weeks before I came around. The very day I came back to life there you were. Flowers in hand, a hug from hell and slap asking me what hell I was thinking or wasn’t thinking. We spent an hour going over my not so smart decision making skills. You kept reminding me that I was important and loved and stupid for trying to check out. You were the fire under my ass and wouldn’t let up. I’m forever grateful for your love and persistent reminders that I mattered.

My mind is wandering about all that I want to say about all of our memories. I can’t separate or write fast enough so I am just going to say it out loud….Dammit Dena Raven. You didn’t deserve to go through what you did. You were such a beautiful soul. So kind, thoughtful and generous. You were empathetic and compassionate in ways that most don’t understand. Your friends miss you much. We miss our shared sarcasms and laughs. The hugs we shared when we needed that leaning pole. Another thing we miss that we all share in common is your feisty idgaf if you like me or me or not face when you were passionate about something or speaking what was on your mind. You were a hell of a human. One of the most beautiful souls ever put on this Earth. I still want to pick up the phone or meet up with you because everything was always right when we tackled things together. Good, bad and even on my ugly days you were there until the end.

I don’t have many regrets in this life but there is one I will carry until the end. At the end, when you were so sick… I couldn’t drive to you. I wasn’t well myself at the time but I wanted to just be there and sit with you and I couldn’t. I felt guilty as hell. I prayed everyday that you wouldn’t suffer long if you had to go. The day Cat and I finally made arrangements to see you –  a day good enough I could go out, we got the call to please not come. You wanted to be with your family. We knew what that meant and I kicked the shit out of myself for being such a terrible human. For Gods sake, I hadn’t been able to see you since Christmas. I wanted to and I know that you knew, but I also can’t help but think that you must have wondered why I wasn’t there for you. I will not ever forgive myself for that. I’m so sorry.

I could go on forever but I won’t. At least I have those moments to hold inside. February 2 is almost here. We laid you to rest on a day that I could never forget – a day full of anniversaries and I still can’t believe and wish you weren’t on that list, but you are. Although I’m not looking forward to that day, I have been grateful and found comfort in knowing that you didn’t have to suffer any longer than you did. I have been blessed beyond measure that you were part of my life. I miss you my friend. More than words can ever express. We all do.

Until we see you on the flip side, I am going to hold on to the memories. Keep sunflowers in the house and keep listening for those words I so often hear as if you are standing right here. I love you Dena Raven. Until we see each other again…♥️♥️♥️ H

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