My Friend

It’s been a little over two weeks since my friend, Sheila, passed away from ovarian cancer.  Just writing that sentence caused me to weep until I couldn’t see the computer screen anymore.  For as much as I know that she is at peace, and in the presence of God’s great glory, I mourn — along with every person who knew her.

When I met her, Sheila was chairman of the 3rd grade team of teachers at the school where I’d been hired.  I liked her immediately, and not just because she was a Mississippi State graduate, though that was certainly reason enough.  There was just something about Sheila that made people instantly like her and want to be around her.

One of the first things she told me was that I could come to her anytime with any question or problem, and she urged me to do so before going to the principal with anything.  She never said why, though it didn’t take long before I figured it out.  (That, however, is another story for another day.)

Sheila became my dear friend, one whose advice and counsel I sought many times about many subjects.

She was a born teacher, and she eventually left the grade level to become our APEX teacher, one who teaches gifted students.

I never knew her to say anything ugly about anyone.  That doesn’t mean that she went through life with blinders on.  Quite the opposite.  But it wasn’t part of her character to speak unkind words of anyone just for sport’s sake.

Sheila had impeccable manners, and she knew that using them was a form of kindness to be extended to others, not something to be shown off.

She had the prettiest handwriting I’ve ever seen.

Her family — her husband, two daughters, her parents — were her world.  I suppose I should include her friends in that list, because she considered her friends part of her extended family.

Sheila could make me laugh at the smallest thing.  And when she laughed, her eyes sparkled like little blue stars.

If I told something to her in confidence, I never worried that it would be betrayed.

She was a thoughtful, generous, smart, funny, and dear person, and knowing her was my great fortune.

Her first grandson was born just six weeks ago, and though Walker will not know her, those who loved her will make sure he knows just how much she adored him, how strongly she willed herself to see him, and how gracious God was to grant her that wish.

Sheila’s funeral was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.  My mother has told me on more than one occasion that it’s hard to lose your parents, but that it’s sort of expected; it’s a whole different kind of sadness and grief when you start losing your friends.  She’s right.

In the priest’s homily, one of the things he said was that he struggled with what in the world he was to tell Sheila’s family and friends.  What could he possibly say to comfort so many people who’d lost a great joy?  He said he must have walked and talked to God for miles, and the only thought that came to him was, “Tell them she is with me.”

She is and will be forever.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”     —  Matthew 6: 19-21


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carrie
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 07:02:44

    Sheila sounds like a very special lady. I am so sorry for your loss.


  2. JLI
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 08:35:21

    It sounds like those who didn’t know your dear friend really missed out, but it has been an honor and a joy for me to read your heartfelt words.

    God always knows the right thing to say, and to hear that she is with Him? Music to my ears. I’m so happy that she is in eternal glory with her King!


  3. meghan @ spicy magnolia
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 13:38:30

    What a special post about your dear friend. Thank you for sharing with us some of her life and her legacy.


  4. Kelley
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 12:45:14

    Carrie took the words right out of my mouth.


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