I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try. I had a girlfriend over to watch this movie on the big screen, as I had taped it and she watched it on her iPad. Sharon has been my friend for years, and our time together began when I became sober, and actually visited my mother in law’s pool. I wasn’t sure I liked her at first, she seemed to know it all-but that ended up being one of the very reasons I love her-she knows a lot. 🙂
Sharon and I stopped getting together, right around the time my in-laws decided to “adopt” her. She has a dysfunctional family, and no relationship with her parents; thus the reason to take her under their wings. My in-laws took her everywhere-out for lunch, to flower shows, church events. It silently killed me inside, and I admit-I resented her. I mean, their daughter in law lives right across the street and they never even call me. Not that I’m begging for trouble, I could care less. But at one point I cared too much, and we didn’t get a chance to bond.
Then the unspeakable tragedy.
Two years ago, I was in my kitchen baking when my phone rang. Seeing it was my MIL, I took a deep breath and answered.
“Sharon’s son Justin is dead.”
WHAT? Her only child? He was only 27 years old! He was her world! My GOD NO!!!!!
The details began to surface. While Justin was an expert motorcyclist, (he also had a black belt in the martial arts) he was found by a truck driver, his new Harley overturned, down in the embankment-he was dead on the scene. There was no snow. No rain. No wind. The best we could figure was that possibly someone ran him off of the road, or he swerved to avoid a deer.
I was devastated for her. I didn’t know what to do, we weren’t close enough that I could call her, yet I needed to do something. I drove to the JOY bookstore in town. I asked about books about grieving. JOY is a Christian book store, and if you need to find anything Jesus-that is the place to be. The manager pointed me in the right direction, and I found three, that’s correct three books on the subject, in the entire store. As a woman trained in hospice, as a woman who has grieved deeply, I felt such sorrow for her. Her one and only child.
I looked at the books, and one popped out-as the Holy Spirit would have it-I hesitated as this had to be the perfect book for her. Later on she would confide that this very book is what got her through the rainy days, the searing pain, the funeral.
Watching her enter the church from the balcony, I dug my nails deep into my poor husband’s leg. On my mother’s grave I almost let out a scream, and I know for a fact I had my hand over my mouth. Almost crippled from late stage Lyme, as thin as a rail, her husband held her up as she walked down the aisle and into the first pew. She looked so wracked, so broken and frail. I felt m y heart expand and the Holy Spirit whisper: allow her in to your life.
Today we spent the day in my full sized bed, giggling our fool heads off; talking a mile a minute and ignoring most of the musical. It had been so long since I had seen her, as their winters are spent in St. Croix. Too many memories at Christmas and the holidays. She was clinically depressed for a long time. So, we caught up and one thing led to another.
“Tom and Dolly don’t call me any more. They haven’t phoned in six months,” she felt me out. I tried not to give my feelings about them away. I rarely spoke with her about them.
Just then the dog began to bark-Dwain was home. I called for him and when he entered the bedroom, his face red, well, I knew something wasn’t right. The words were falling out of his mouth at such warp speed, the movie in the background and Sharon interjecting here and there….I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I paused the television, spew it, I said.
“I just stopped in with the neighbors (our name for his parents) and they aren’t too pleased with me,” he stammered. “They told me I can’t disown my son. They talked to Bud and he denied most of it, lied about the rest. They said they can’t sleep, that I have to do something. I think the five of us need to sit down…..”
Hold Up! The five of us? No way in the world do your parents need to be involved in our business! My stomach fluttered, my heart beat wildly, I looked to Sharon, her eyes big as saucers. I knew I couldn’t go through one more minute of their interference.
“We’ll talk about this later, enjoy your movie.”
Sharon patted the bed beside her. I sat down and wept. I had already clued her in on the Bud situation. We exchanged stories about my in-laws. I learned that they think she has “grieved far too long” for Justin, and that if she tried to bring him up in conversation, that Dolly would turn the dialogue back around so that she was the focus of attention. I learned they lie about me, which I long suspected. She was actually flabbergasted when I told her I had made a Mexican dish last evening.
“You cook?,” she asked, as if she had just learned that I moonlight on 13th and Arch, or ride buffalo bare back, naked. “I was told that Dwain does all of the cooking.”
She listened, she comforted, she cared.
I walked her to the door, and she leaned in to kiss me goodbye.
“Whatever you do, sweetheart, keep the neighbors out of it.”
God blessed me with an ally, and one who knows the whole story-on both sides. She understands my grim reality. She knows grief. And she and Jesus have come a very long way in healing her heart and soul. Her name is Sharon, and she is my friend.
And right now, at this very moment, we are two women who have lost their sons, a road far too difficult to navigate alone~
Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. -2 Corinthians 13:11 MSG