30 Years Ago

Thirty years ago, Wendy was born. Little did anyone expect that she’d only be on this earth for just shy of 17 years, or that she’d have such a huge impact on the people around her in those short years.

Tonight, I am celebrating for her. While cancer took her away from her earthly home, she lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.

Tears filled my eyes earlier as I remembered taking birthday wishes, cards, and flowers to her grave site 13 years ago, angry that soon I would get to celebrate my 17th birthday, something she’d never get to do. While I am aware that she’s gone, it doesn’t change the pain  or the the fact that I don’t know what she’d be doing if she had survived…but knowing that we got to enjoy a few good years together sure does help.

For Wendy, on her 30th birthday, I wish you all a beautiful day full of love, joy, butterflies, green, *N Sync, and Tweety Bird. Heck, even some Green Bay Packers. Why not. This one’s for you, Wendy. xoxo

 

While I have you here, consider giving to my goal to raise money for Kids With Cancer. If there is anything I can do to help other families, children, and friends with dealing with cancer, I’d love to. Help me out, please! 

This Day, Again

I have really tried. It is hard to not show emotions around you kids. Today, you have to forgive your Mama.

You see, it is today. March 6. It has brought me to my knees in tears every day for 13 years. It will continue to. It doesn’t get easier.

You see, 13 years ago, I lost a best friend. Wendy. Tears still come to my eyes to say her name. Cancer, you really suck. And emotions, you do, too.

This morning was one snowball of bad. Oh, snow. We were hit by a snowstorm and school closed. Roads were looking awful. My anxiety spiked. 13 years. Not going to give bad a chance, I worked from home in the morning.

I thought I was okay. I was wrong.

You see, we have let you kids watch The Lion King. Simba’s Dad dies. Arianna, you get this in a way. I mean, sometimes you are creepy and talk to the dead. Anyhow. I blame The Lion King on what took me over the edge and caused me to cry and need a kiddo hug.

Arianna came to tell me bad news. “Mama, I don’t have Shirley anymore. She died.”

Why God, why? Why today? Why now?

She hugged me hard, wiping my tears. “Mama. It is okay she will always be with me. I have E-baugh to keep me strong now.”

Why?!?!

I can’t explain loss, but I sure can explain love. And I am so lucky that this day, you showed me that. It hurt to hear you say that on this day you lost your
best friend…why this day?

So you could show me you are oh so strong. Love you, kids.

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A photo of me, just cause.

Why She Will Always Live On

A long time ago, I was a first grader and I met the person who would be my best friend forever. No, this isn’t some story of silly elementary school friendship, this is a real life, forever and ever story. Wendy and I met at Pinecreek Elementary school, playing on the playground in muddy puddles. We had that one lone year together as children, then renewed our friendship when I moved back in tenth grade. Our time together was again short, but Wendy was a woman who will always live on through me, through my children, and hopefully through their children.

Today, after twelve long years without her physically here with me, my Wendy memories are burned into my brain. While there are days that I still feel the pain, there are days like today that I am proud of the person knowing her helped me become. Today, twelve years after she took her last breath, I know one big reason why God put my Wendy in my life. Even when she had so many reasons to take and not give, she gave. She gave and she loved. She gave with her whole heart. And she was such an amazing person for that.

It was December 1999. Our youth group had picked an angel to buy clothes and toys for at Christmas. We girls were in charge of getting the gift–boys know nothing about buying clothes for little girls. Wendy was in remission, but she led the charge of us getting our gifts. We packed into my dad’s conversion van and hit the road for DuBois. Warm clothes for the baby girl were a must, and then a fun toy. Wendy made sure we used our budget to the fullest to give our angel child the best gifts we could. Then we shared laughs over dinner, just a bunch of teenage girls making memories. We quickly lost track of time and got home late, but that was ok because our families trusted us girls together.

It didn’t matter what she had been through, she was always giving, always loving. Being the example of what we all should be. That December night was just one of many that I got to witness and learn all about giving with a joyful heart. Everyone needs someone like Wendy in their lives. The lessons she taught me will always live on and I am so thankful.

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Speaking of people who are great examples of giving wholeheartedly, take a look at what some of the peers from my first 2nd Grade class were up to this week. Green Sea Middle School Walk for Glaucoma (from SCNow.com). What great examples of love and lifelong friendship!

Still Feel the Pain

Usually my Wednesdays are Wordless.

Usually my posts are about the kids.

Usually my posts are in the evening (and shh, PodCampers, scheduled because I am busy).

Today, it is all thrown out the window.

Today, I am sad. I am bitterly angry. I am dealing with something I’ve been managing well for almost 11 years, but the pain never will completely go away.

Today, I hated myself for a fleeting moment. In the shower, enjoying my morning routine with A, I almost shaved a strand of my hair off. I thought, man, you’d be so ugly! Then I broke down. My best friend Wendy had no choice. She lost her hair with the cancer treatments. She held her head up high walking the halls filled with mean people (who, btw, most of which were NOT in our class). A junior in high school, living life like there was a tomorrow.

But sadly, there was not, and for that, this morning, I momentarily lost my strength. I don’t forget her, but I try so hard to not remember the things that happened. To not wish I was flying out with or to see her tonight. To not wish she and I could swap marriage or kid stories. To not wish I could just sit and eat some Chinese with her.

If I don’t talk about it, it won’t go away. Now that I’ve cried it out and blogged it out, I feel a release, I feel my personal angel smiling at me, telling me everything is ok. And it is. She is safe,  she is free. That is what means everything to me, what gives me hope.

WMK, I love and miss you!