Memories of a Dear Friend

June 28, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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A Journal of Joy: Things that make my heart smile…..

My friend Lori has been gone a while now but I think of her often. When I think of Lori, I think of laughter, all kinds of flowers, shoes and purses, teddy bears, her boys, beanie babies, reading books, and diet coke. Lori loved to talk to people, and her trusty cell phone was by her side until the end. Lilac was her favorite color, but almost any shade of purple would do. Soft purple hues were on her sheets, pillows, clothes—everywhere!

Lori had the keenest sense of direction of any person I’ve ever known—male or female. I have none! When we went someplace I’d drive and Lori would direct. That way we would each have control over something. We were both strong-willed, so we called ourselves the “bossy broads.” I’m not really a “do lunch” kind of person, but Lori was. So we’d lunch at these out of the way places that she knew 500 different ways to get to. We’d fight about who would pay the tab.

I was with Lori the day she found out she had ovarian cancer. Our hopes were high. Hers was not an aggressive cancer, and with chemotherapy the doctor was 90% sure they could rid her body of the dreaded disease and it would not return. Even with those great odds, chemo was not easy. There was the guilt over feeling angry, but it was momentary, for Lori was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. Her trust in God never waned. The question of “Why me?” quickly dissolved into “Why not me?”

After months of chemo, Lori lost her hair. This may not sound like much, but when a woman brushes her hair and handfuls come out, it can be very traumatic. We had our own little “therapy” the night before each major chemo treatment. We’d go see a funny movie and feast on buttered popcorn. Finally, chemo ended. Lori was ready to rebuild her life.

I was with Lori the day she found out her cancer had returned. The medical profession was puzzled. Hers was a non-aggressive cancer. How could it return? Surgery and more chemo were prescribed. The second round of chemo didn’t go well. She was allergic to the drug they wanted to use—the one with the best track record. They substituted others. The cancer kept growing. The doctors remained baffled.

I was with Lori the day doctors released her from care. They could do nothing more for her. She searched for alternative methods but nothing seemed to help. She kept her receptionist job at Los Gatos Christian Church for as long as she could. It gave her a reason to get out and about. Our lunches and movies became fewer. Eventually, she was house bound and then virtually bedridden. Hospice workers and nurses would come a couple of times a week. I’d call her often and sometimes come to visit her on my way to work. I’d bring her a blue Slurpee, Jamba Juice, or some little something she was craving. She became weaker and weaker. As I hugged her, all I could feel were the bones of a once robust body. In her frailness, she held me tight and close. She whispered in my ear, “I’m going to die, Barb.” I’d whisper back, “I know.” We’d pray.

Lori did not die lonely. She had more friends than any person I’ve ever known. I was just one of many. If she was in the hospital or at home, her room would be filled with cards, books, flowers, comforters, quilts, stuffed animals, or pillows people had brought her. One day she even received a bouquet of flowers from the owners of her local florist shop. She loved people and people loved her. She gravitated toward the elderly, the sick, the hurting, the handicapped. She genuinely cared about others. No task was too menial or dirty for her to do if someone needed help. God always got the glory. People knew she loved God by the way she lived her life.

She had her up days and down days, but her relationship with God never wavered. Even in her darkest hours she never doubted God’s wisdom, love, and gentle hand in her life. There might be things she didn’t understand, but she never doubted. I would always leave Lori a little ashamed that my trust in God was not as great as hers and very inspired that I knew a “real Christian.”

I miss Lori, but I know she is with God now. With her keen sense of direction, there is no way she could get lost!   

*****

Oh Lord, I thank and praise You for the friends You’ve brought into my life. I’ve learned so much from each one of them. What a blessing they are! In sickness or in health, they never cease to amaze me. Help me be a good friend to others. No matter what I’m going through, help me always reflect Your glory.


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