Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

The Journey Home

It was your birthday week, and I can’t believe you were not here. I remembered your birthday week last year. After living your dream of moving to Ketchikan, Alaska, and living there almost three years, you felt you needed to move back to Kansas City. I helped you drive to your new home in 2012 (what a dream trip that was), and now it was time to help bring you home. I had two connecting flights and would travel all day, but it was a spectacular clear day in August; and I captured this shot of Mt. Rainier approaching Seattle.

Mt. Ranier

I thought back on our trip to Seattle the year after you moved to Ketchikan. We gathered together in Seattle in 2013. We had a wonderful extended weekend visit. The three of us had been friends for about thirty-five years.

Bathing Beauties 2

“Way Back When??”



You once told me it was after that trip that you felt a little homesick. And then your health declined, so you decided to move back to Kansas City to be closer to family and doctors. But your emotions were split. You loved Ketchikan too. You made sure that I saw the amazing beauty of Ketchikan when I arrived the second time.

11899911_792788300819569_351074358359201324_n 11220919_792788364152896_629846189762260585_n waterfall

In a couple of days, it was time to begin the long journey home – two days on the ferry and then a three-day road trip traveling in the same little red car we drove on our first adventure.

ferry as we leave

We had a pleasant and uneventful drive from Washington to Kansas City – unlike the deer-hitting adventure of three years earlier. We did have one hazard on our last day on the road, but you dodged it beautifully. I’m still trying to figure out how a pig was sitting smack-dab in the middle of the interstate in South Dakota. We laughed till we cried and couldn’t believe our eyes. Imagine that – a pack of deer in 2012 and a pig in 2015, both in South Dakota.

You settled into your condo in Kansas City on your birthday. It was good to have you home – spur-of-the-moment visits, Royals baseball games, shopping, and helping me prepare for the wedding the next summer.

Finally, it was wedding day. Then the following day, you were gone. We were called to the hospital, but you really weren’t there. A machine kept you breathing for another day, but you had already found peace.

Now, your birthday has passed again. As the weeks turn into months, I miss you more. I thought we would have more time for those Sunday afternoon visits. I went on one this past Sunday without you. I would like to hear your comments and review of “Helen’s Heritage,” but your voice is absent. I still look for you on the couch when I reach the bottom of the stairs, but you are never there.

I am beginning to understand that on this side of heaven, the chair will forever be empty. So I have this one request, please save one for me there.

wedding chair


Throwback “Birthday” Thursday

Happy Birthday!  So you and Mom’s birthday are just a day apart?

Oh my, how this question threw me into reflection – on none other than Throwback Thursday, my birthday.  And, so, I responded.

Well, let me tell you a little story.  For years, we thought we shared the same birthday.  Then when we turned sixteen, she needed a copy of her birth certificate to get her driver’s license.  When it arrived, she discovered she was born just before midnight instead of just after midnight.  She said, “Now we don’t have the same birthday.”  But to me, we always did, and I state so in my “Cheryl and Jan” chapter in “Reflections.”  Happy birthday to us, my very best friend.  I miss her so – approaching our tenth year without her.

She was only 48 when she left this life.  It seemed unfair, so much living yet to do, so many grandchildren yet to hold.  But cancer snatched her away.  Today, I’m feeling the passage of a decade just a bit – a little tired and weary.  The body doesn’t bounce back like it did in years gone by.  And I think of her in heaven dancing on the streets of gold, singing in the choir, and rejoicing with the other saints and angels.  Maybe it wasn’t so unfair after all, but it sure seems that way.

And then I thought of a birthday eight years before her death – our 40th.  I had never left my boys overnight until that time – spent four days in paradise on the beaches of Cancun.  She assured me it would be okay, they’d be okay.  I knew they were in good hands with their grandma.  But I certainly was ready to get home to them after the four days.  So I flew home in my stars and stripes; and as I passed through Customs, the agent smiled and said, “Happy birthday, welcome home.”  Three very happy boys and one grandma did welcome me home with two birthday cakes.

And where have the years gone?

  • The boys are now 28, 25, and 23.
  • Cheryl is celebrating her tenth birthday in heaven.
  • Mama just celebrated her 80th birthday on earth.
  • And I am still here, too, about to start a new career.

I am thankful for the years.  I am thankful for my sons.  I am thankful for having known a very best friend for all of those years, that we shared so many things.  I am thankful for my mother and three sisters who love and support me.  I am thankful for a caring companion to share my life.  And I am thankful to be able to work.  I am thankful that God sustains us through all things.

Happy Birthday to us, dear friend, one more time – to you up there in the better place and to me below!

One day I will join you; but for now, I will abide.