So Mom called me a couple of days ago to let me know that my friend Sheila had passed. And that she was found in the floor and reason unknown with an autopsy being done. I was quite shocked by the news as she was always such a picture of perfect health. She and I were close as kids – and mainly I remember us hanging out the most when we were in 8th grade through our freshman year in college. While the details are faded from childhood, I suspect that our teen years was when we both became active in the youth groups and got to know each other better. And we were quite close, sharing our deepest secrets (boy crushes, how we felt about life, etc.), and she and I could really laugh. She had a sense of humor. I’ll share some of our memories soon, but let me share the timeline a bit.
I went to the Christian Academy my senior year and she went to the main local high school but we still kept in touch closely all through high school. And we roomed together freshman year in college.
So Sheila dropped out of college halfway through the first year. I was devastated as we were doing this college thing together, I thought, but she decided to marry the guy she had been dating who was about 6 years older and was ready to settle down.
She had babies, and I pledged sororities, studied hard, focused, and dated myself as well as worked a couple of PT jobs. (Yes, I filled the plate full back then too.) We still stayed in touch and even went to a Bryan Adams concert my senior year of college. But as more babies came for her and I started a career and headed down my own path, and we stayed in touch for a while here and there and she moved, I moved and we just got busy and lost touch – about the time I had Katy – life was just busy and she remarried and we didn’t Facebook back then.
Even now, she was on it for a limited time and so that is the main way I keep touch with old friends now. I really hate we lost touch but I’m glad we met a few years back for dinner. We caught up. So mostly I’m just needing to write about her as she is on my mind.
I loved that she and I could talk and she was very inquisitive and a very good conversationalist. She had her own opinions and while she was open to yours, she usually would not change her mind on things. That said, I noticed she changed her religion which was very concerning to me.
Anyway, I won’t give my thoughts publicly on that, but I am sad that she has passed. Some of my memories include the following. I’m sure I’ve only touched the surface.
*Hanging out at her families place at the pool on our floats getting some sun tan so we look cool in our summer shorts. 🙂
*Eating pizza and lots of it.
*Going to Hawaii with her and her parents when we were 16. I started working at age 15 so I could earn money and go with them on this trip. I have so many memories on this trip alone. Oh the things we know that have never been told.
We snuck out of our hotel room and hung out just walking around (I shudder in horror now). We saw a prostitute get arrested and the police told us to go on to our rooms that we didn’t need to be watching that.
Some guys at the pool asked to smuggle drugs into our suitcases back to the US for them, we casually slipped away hoping they would not know what room we were in. Of course would do no such thing! They knew and called and asked again and we said no. Stuff like this is usually on TV. We vowed to stick close to her parents after that and no more trips to the pool alone. It scared us. Looking back we should have reported it but we were kids and probably afraid of what they would do to us. We never told our parents b/c we had snuck out and shouldn’t have. lol I can tell it now as I don’t have to answer to anyone!
*We had fun at the River at her parents “camp” and on their boat. I just went there the one time. I got us in trouble. We had her poodle dog “Tippy” in bed with us. We had a whoopee cushion and after everyone got in bed and went to sleep, including the dog, I let loose on the whoopee cushion. The dog jumped out from under the covers, ran into the kitchen and slid under the kitchen table whimpering. We were both just howling with laughter in the bedroom. Sheila’s Momma said “Sheeeeeeila, ya’ll go to sleep now.”
So Tippy got back under the covers and after everyone got to sleep again…..you guessed it…I’m sure it was all me…I couldn’t help it. I let the whoopee cushion go again and Tippy repeated the scenario and Sheila and I were laughing so hard we couldn’t breath.
In the parents room her Mom said “Sheila I mean it now, go to sleep!” Her Mom was so sweet and she even said that in the sweetest voice.
On that same River trip, she and I took the little bitty row boat across the river. It was a kinda long way over there to the other bank (just trees) but reportedly there was some good fishing. So on the way over, a speed boat came and we were afraid he would run into us as we were just rowing. We rowed so fast. And we were making so much noise that there was no way there would be fish over there.
I remember getting my hook caught in the trees. I mean of course I did. lol And while we were over there trying to unhook fishing hooks, the bees tried to sting us while in the boat.
We got in the row boat and headed back to the dock, because we were convinced that nothing was better than just laying on the dock listening to music. On the way back the row boat came again – same place – while we were in the middle of the crossing. We paddled fast and then went and got the radio. One of us accidentally dropped the plug in the water, and we were afraid to plug it in.
Also as we got older we were brave one night at her house in the basement and we decided to try her parents wine…I think they made it. It tasted nothing like the wine we know of now, but we thought we were big. I guess that was my first drink and maybe we were in the 8th grade. We played Fleetwood Mac and talked about boys. Sadly I think we tried our first smoke together too and neither of us liked it. Neither did we like the wine, lol.
Most of the time we did not do stuff like that though – we usually went shopping, on youth retreats and outings.
But when we planned for college we were so excited. We shopped for our dorm room. We got the carpet and had someone build our bunks and had a cute little room with plants and desks. We would laugh and laugh. I was introverted and she was extroverted so I clung to her shirt tail so to speak when we went out and about on campus. I eventually got used to the college world but she helped me get used to things.
As roommates, we had a few setbacks. A few things we did irritated each other but we didn’t let those things ruin our friendship.
But overall she was always a good friend to me and we always sort of new we could call on the other if needed. And we did a few times. But life led us our separate ways over time and we had that dinner a few years back and talked and talked. I thought that we would be in touch more after that night. I tried calling a couple of times. She had a large family and it always seemed like she was so busy and so I didn’t call any more and she never called me. I don’t think we even changed addresses because we had each others number but eventually I think I lost that. She was on Facebook for a small time to my relief but then she was gone and account deleted.
So I just wanted to come on and talk about these memories. And hopefully she can look down and laugh at some of the stupid things we did. I can’t begin to put them all here but she knows.
Thank you for being such a good good friend to me. You listened to me through so much. And I did the same for you. We had each other’s backs for a long time. I know in my heart though we parted in our own lives of busy-ness that you were always a special friend. It hurts knowing that you are no longer in this world. But it’s my hope that God has you in his hand now and that you are at peace.
I know how much you loved your family. You were so close to your Mom and I envied the relationship you had and how ya’ll could talk about anything with one another. We talked numerous times about why I could not get along with my own Mom. Not sure we ever came to an answer, but Mom and I always had arguments and tension it seemed that got worse as I got older. You were there for me to talk to about things I could not talk to with anyone else.
I loved your ability to bring laughter and humor into any situation. When we were together we looked for humor so we could laugh.
I will never forget the nights in our dorm room when I’d be talking away about something and then I’d ask you a question and you had not heard a word I said but was flat out asleep. lol
I thank you for letting me borrow your shoes to wear to the Fancy Dress Ball to Washington and Lee University in VA when I went with a date. You said be sure to keep good care of them but I could not help it that there was flood in the basement and we had to wade through it to get to the car. Not only did I ruin the bottom of my dress but your beautiful shoes! I’m so sorry and you wouldn’t take money for them probably b/c you knew I didn’t have it or I’d not have borrowed the shoes in the first place. God love you Sheila for your heart!
And do you remember that time we left the sub deb dance downtown – me and you and Janine had a curfew to be back home at your house. Janine had to leave without her shoes. Her aigner shoes that she had borrowed from her sister the night before. And so at some ungodly time of the night after curfew we snuck back out of the house down the drive way in your car with the lights OFF so no one could tell and drove downtown before the place closed to look for Janine’s shoes! Didn’t we only find one shoe? I cannot even remember.
Oh the times we had. Silly times. Fun times.
And remember in church when we used to make each other laugh? You were sitting next to that guy you had a slight crush on and were so excited to be sitting by him. That time I whispered to you to picture Michael Jackson walking down the aisle dancing to “Billie Jean” and shouting “Woooooooo” like he did, while eating a chicken leg. You burst into laughter in the middle of church. And then immediately was embarrassed and had to go to the bathroom and I followed. You were crying because you felt you ruined your chances with the guy you had a crush on and I think you might have been a little miffed at me for finally making you laugh out loud. I’m so sorry. I felt so bad .
Anyway Sheila. You were a great friend and I’m sorry life got in the way and we were too busy to write or pick up the phone, but it was ok b/c we knew we loved each other regardless.
You left the world too soon. You loved your family so much and I’m so proud of the person you were, that you are.
And I know now on Thursday morning when I was praying, and YOU came to my mind all of a sudden and I prayed for you – I didn’t know you were dying. I just said Lord, Sheila came to mind for what ever reason and I pray for her.
On Friday when talking with a friend about some things suddenly some of our memories came to mind and I told my friend about you and the funny things we did.
The next day Mom called to say you had passed. I know that your spirit came by to say “remember the times – they were sweet – and thank you for being a friend”. I know you and I know you would do that.
Love you girl. Rest peacefully. You had a busy life and life filled with love for your kids and grands. And I’ll never forget your place in my life. Never ever. Even if I get Alzheimer’s I’ll still have you in my heart somewhere!
I can’t go to your celebration out of town as I have to work and save my PTO days for family. I know you understand. But I’m praying for your family that remains. And I’ll be thinking about you for some time to come. I’m just not settled or at peace with your death. You are too young and appeared to have the fit and healthy life.
Fly high and may our God look over you and may we meet again someday, somehow. If you are with God, put in a good word for me ok? I need all the help I can get.