Over the years, I have written numerous tributes to my most favorite Barb to ever Barb. From birthdays to surgery recovery thoughts to work farewells, you can find so many “best of Barb” lists and fun facts and shout outs and, well, barbs.
But I wasn’t, am not, and will never be prepared to write one last tribute. So, we’ll keep this one short because to be honest, it’s hard to see the screen when your eyes are being blurred by hot AF tears. Just know that this woman was more than just my “work mom,” or my “office bff.” No, our relationship transcended the confines of the office. She WAS my mom in all of the most important senses of the word. She was one of my best friends – not just at work, but in life. She was my role model, my confidante, the person who could make me laugh so hard that I would have to run to the bathroom at work and shut myself into a stall so people wouldn’t see me basically ugly-crying from the laughs.
It’s crazy to think that for the first nearly-two years I worked with her, our shifts only overlapped by 90 minutes, yet we managed to form a solid friendship right off the bat. I’m not exaggerating. I felt so immediately at ease with her that I very quickly put down my walls. She was the first person I shared my blog with at work because our senses of humor were so aligned that I knew it would be OK.
There were days when she would stay past her quitting time because I was going through it and needed someone to talk to. When I say that I wouldn’t have lasted a month at the law firm if not for her, I’m not joking. She was the reason I kept going in every day, took it seriously, and now it’s nearly 14 years later and I am still here, Jabbering people like, “Remember that one time Barb said…” what seems like every day, and teaching all the post-Barb people about her magical, larger-than-life presence.
Even my non-work friends know and love Barb. Henry’s mom asks about her every time I see her. She came to all of Chooch’s birthday parties, all of my birthday parties/dinners (even when they were at the roller rink!!!), Marcy’s memorial dinner, our Christmas parties, game nights, pie parties. All of my friends considered her a friend. Barb was famous in this circle.
I just hope that she knew how loved she is and always be, and that she is at peace. And, selfishly, I hope that one day I can be a Barb Riley to someone.
Bonus picture of Chooch saying, “Ghis wasn’t on my list!” after opening a present from his frenemy Barb, and then getting pissed off when he discovered that she also gave me A present at his birthday party. Man, I loved their fake feud.