Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goodbye Dear Friend

There are time when even I am at a loss for words. That no matter what I want to say I will fall short of the mark. Yesterday was one of those days and I am afraid today is not much better. After convincing my sister that there was just enough time for me to check my email yesterday morning I found the message I had refused to believe I would ever receive. My dear friend, Sherry, lost her battle with cancer and had passed away early that morning.

Those of you who've been with the blog awhile might recognize her Blogger ID of H-J Junkie, a name I gave her after continuous comments on the lack of Hi-Jinx in the blog. Sherry and I met in Jerusalem over five years ago and became fast friends. After a few random meet-ups we set up a coffee date for the following Friday morning. Thus began our weekly coffee dates/shopping sprees which lasted even through her whirlwind courtship (one date!) and short engagement. Her wedding was small but incredibly special. As is part of the natural rhythm of life, we saw each other a less often after her weeding, until several months later she was on bed rest with her pregnancy. At that point we spoke or saw each other almost daily and I was with her for her last ultrasound appointment, when the doctor ordered her to get into a taxi and go directly to the hospital. The next morning I woke to the news that her son had been born.

Sherry and I believed in the same things but we came to them from such different places. Perhaps we balanced each other out. Case in point, at her engagement party we ended up wearing the same but opposite outfits. Hers was a black suit with a pink shell, mine a pink suit with a black shell. Her hair was dead straight, mine insanely curly. We had our picture taken together that evening. Neither of us liked to have our pictures taken, it is the only picture I have of her, of us together. It wasn't the perfect friendship, and as our lives continued to take such different directions I found myself annoyed with her at times. And it was then that I realized the truth in her statement before her wedding, "You are more than a friend, you are like a sister." Because no matter how much my sister may annoy me at times, I love her always.

Sherry picked me up and drove me to my going away party, when I left Israel just over a year ago. She had to leave early to so she could get to her chiropractor as she'd been having back trouble. Her stomach had been bothering her for a while and perhaps it was all connected. That's the last time I saw her. Two months later, already settling in to life in Passaic, I received a mass email informing Sherry's many, many friends that she had been diagnosed with a rare cancer and asking for help and prayers.

In this last year of her life Sherry never lost hope, never lost faith, never lost her sense of humor. I never had a single conversation with her that indicated she had given up. If anyone was going to beat this it was her.

Once Sherry had moved to Israel she had hope to never leave it again. This was not to be. Her illness brought her back to the US for two failed surgeries and hope of a medical breakthrough. I had hoped to visit Sherry this week before I started work but she had not returned my message. And then I got the opportunity to fly home to CA. My mom asked how she was doing and told me that since I hadn't gotten out to Brooklyn before I started work, I could still go on a Sunday. That was two days ago. And then there was the email yesterday morning. The funeral was in Jerusalem, about 7 hours ago.

Sherry is back home. She is at peace. It is those who have been left behind that are feeling the pain now.


Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie the loss of someone who could be called sister is extra hard. My thoughts are with you, in your sadness. I'm reading, and hearing you, and wishing I could give you a hug. samm

Jeanne said...

I'm so sorry for your loss