Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going through the emotions

I put my Halloween decorations out early so I could photograph them and send the pictures to my best, dearest, old friend, Sheila. We met as army wives when she was 19 and I had just turned 20. She and her husband Bruce drove my then-husband to the Fairbanks, Alaska airport to pick me up at 1:00 a.m. when the midnight sun was shining. It was surreal.

Sheila and I baked bread, swapped stories and old secrets, walked narrow winding trails through the woods where buffalo, moose and wild animals roamed. We delivered our baby girls in Alaska. When we had to return home, she to Boston and I to St. Louis, we continued a long distance friendship with five to ten page weekly letters and costly phone calls, which we had to pay for by the minute but were cheaper and better than any therapy.

I went to Boston by bus with my 14 month old baby to see her baby, Michele. Twenty years later when I was ready for divorce, I went again for a heart-to heart. Then, five years later, she and her husband came to meet my fiancé. The guys hit it off right away. The next year, she and Bruce returned to St. Louis to stand beside us at our wedding (which was also their 25th wedding anniversary) as we all repeated our vows.

For years we vacationed together in Mexico and Florida and in each others' states. We laughed so much when we were together. We had water fights and acted like children.

Now my best friend is making the saints and angels laugh and loving on the heavenly cherubs and babies. She loved little children so much she would approach strangers and interact with their little ones.

I am feeling so many mixed emotions. I am happy for an enduring real friendship, even when it became one-sided. After brain cancer robbed Sheila of her short term memory, I vowed to send my forever friend a letter or card a week as long as there were Forever stamps. She liked reading about my family, but more than that, she loved reading about classroom activities with my students.

I am sad for her husband, children and grand and great grandchildren. I am grateful she is no longer suffering. I am blessed to have known Sheila and had her in my life for 45 years.

I hope these photos bring a smile to your face. I know they would have made my friend very happy.

This was taken with my cell phone and is not good quality. The scarecrow is worse for wear, but I can't bear to part with it yet, and he looks so cute when viewed from the road.

This cloth jack-o-lantern withstands the elements, and rests at the base of our new tree which is leaning toward the sun and growing a bit askew. This baby will grow to be 50 feet tall.

 I got this little guy at a yard sale last week and absolutely love how he looks sitting on a table on the front porch. Bill said, "This is the cutest you've decorated the yard in all our years."

Do you decorate for Halloween?


Bookie said...

So sorry about your friend...but oh my, you have so many memories to cherish. Many people don't get so much. You decor looks nice...will cheer others along their way each day.

Susan said...

My heart goes out to you, Linda. I would be weeping profusely.

You and Sheila had a true friendship for so many years and that is quite rare in this day and age.

I am deeply sorry for your loss but know you will hug once again one day in the other realm of life. Susan

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda---I am so sorry for your loss. You are so lucky to have had a friend like Sheila. The memories, the growing up, the stories…you two shared so much.

You know that CS is looking for Christmas stories. Do you have a Sheila Christmas story to write and then submit?

Val said...

Sorry to hear about your forever friend.

We decorated for a year or two, with hay bales and pumpkins and gourds and overalls stuffed with hay for a scarecrow with a pumpkin head.

Then the beagle dug his way into the hay bales to sleep every night. We kind of let that new tradition slide.

Connie said...

Your decorations are very cute. I'm sure your friend would have loved them. I am so sorry for your loss. This sounds like it was a very special, one-of-a-kind relationship. Sheila sounds like she was a real blessing in your life. Hugs to you.

Tammy said...

I'm so sorry about Sheila. I know a bit about how you feel, though, since one of my oldest friends and matron of honor at my wedding (I was maid of honor at hers) passed last winter of liver cancer. I think of her every day. Thank you for reminding me I need to get my fall decorations out! Yours are adorable. I'm still in summer mode.

Pat Wahler said...

Condolences on the loss of your friend, Linda. It's tough to say good-bye.

Critter Alley

Cathy C. Hall said...

I have a friend who, though her mind is sharp, finds her body breaking down and it is breaking my heart. She, too, is my age--and I've known her since I was 18.

Thank you for the reminder to be thankful for all the years we have had--and that I have her still. Maybe a card of Halloween fun is something she'd like.

So sorry for your loss, friend.