Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saying Good-Bye

Yesterday I officially said good-bye to a dear friend of mine. I've known Lori since fourth grade. Outside of my family, she's the person I've known the longest in this world. Several years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it, and won. Or so we thought.

About two years ago she was diagnosed with Stage Four Metastatic. In the two years since, she's lived a wonderful and full life, even through the pain of her disease and the treatments associated with it. She was able to accomplish many of the things she'd put on her wish list to do before her time came. The most recent being a trip to Hawaii with her wonderful husband.

Back in November, I was fortunate to get the chance to see Lori. She'd moved away to New York many, many years ago, but we'd stayed in touch through Christmas cards, e-mail, and in recent years her Caring Bridge site. As I hugged her good-bye, I couldn't help but wonder if it would be the last time I'd see her.

Unfortunately, those thoughts proved true. Lori passed away in February, shortly after returning from her dream vacation in Hawaii.

Yesterday was her memorial service. It was amazing and difficult and wonderful and heart-wrenching all in one. The church was literally filled to capacity, with people standing in the doorways, half in and half out of the church. As people spoke of her and how she'd touched their lives, my husband turned to me and said, "I wish I could have known her." (They'd met only once years ago.) "But, being here today, I feel like I did know her. She seems like an amazing person."

How fitting. A wonderful, brave, passionate friend, who had touched so many lives in life, continues to touch them even in death.

And I credit Lori with the reason my wonderful husband and I are together today. On a trip to visit her down in college in Texas, I fell in love with country music. This led me to frequent a local country bar up here, where I met the man of my dreams. I'm amazing how so many lives can be connected in ways we never imagine.

Good-bye my friend, I miss you.

Until next time,



Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Debra,
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Your life is better for having known her. She left you a wonderful gift behind to cherish - your husband.

Morgan Mandel

Margot Justes said...

Sounds like have some incredible memories, hang on to them.

Debra St. John said...

Thanks, ladies. She truly was wonderful and I will always cherish the memories I have of her.

Deb Larson said...

Deb ~ to lose a friend is so hard, but to know she touched so many lives in such a beautful way is a testimony of a life well lived.
I feel blessed for hearing about her too.
DL Larson

Romance Readers Digest said...

My youngest brother died of bone cancer at 19. It was devastating to have someone die so young before having a chance to truly live their life. My daughter was only 5 weeks old when this happened and I was stationed in South Korea with the US Army, so I had to come home on emergency leave. This was also before the consumer use of the internet and all the ways we now have of staying connected. I'm so grateful that we now have these options to stay in touch with one another and suspect that it's been a true blessing for our brave men and women serving overseas. Thanks Deb for highlighting that sites such as the Caring Bridge exist and sorry for your loss but so happy you had this wonderful person in your life. That is a blessing we could all appreciate.