I met Heather in Mr. Williams 7th grade homeroom class. She sat in the next row. She had thick red hair and Jordache jeans. We started out just talking in class. About the teacher (Crazy. Not just odd, actually NUTSO. Left teaching the next year cause he was honest to god crazy.), about boys (Vance Beltran - 7th grade GOD sat right behind me. And occasionally he spoke to me. She witnessed these events), about school work (Lame. Always.), about ourselves.

We became best friends. We walked to school together every day of high school. We spent summers together. Mostly at her house because her folks were there. Her dad worked out of a home office in the converted garage long before it was normal to have a home office. Her mom was a stay at home Mom. She encouraged us to be kind and respectful. She called us MITs (Moms In Training). She cooked delicious treats (popcorn, chocolate donuts, fried fish and okra, biscuits and gravy) and made us feel welcome and loved.

Heather's Mom was a devoutly Christian woman. She knew her Bible chapter and verse but never forced her beliefs on anyone. She was kind and gentle and strong and loving. For the past 24 plus years she has been a second mom to me.

Heather's Mom loved my kids and their accomplishments and quirks like they were her own grand kids. She was lucky enough to have 2 grand kids of her own and she has delighted in them from the moment they hit the planet.

A little over 5 years ago doctors found a lump. Since then she has weathered 3 progressively worse rounds of chemotherapy. She withstood radiation, fatigue, pain and nausea. This year things got a lot worse for her and about 2 1/2 months ago the doctors told her family that she would not be surviving this. When Heather's dad asked if the doctors were talking 18 months (?) they let him know that they were talking more like 3 months.

From that moment everything changed. Suddenly people she loved were making time. Time for long distance visits, time for dinners and shopping and chats. Time for making chocolate donuts. Time together.

When she was asked what she would want to do she said she wanted to go to Greece.

And so all of those people who loved her and felt impotent because they couldn't do anything to change her prognosis suddenly had something they could do. They chipped in and sent her and her husband to Europe. To Italy and Greece for two weeks. This vacation was to have ended last Thursday.

Heather's mom, Phyllis Davis Kelly, died peacefully tonight. About one hour ago.

My best friend's heart is shattered and will never be the same again.

I loved Phyllis. I will love my friend and will remember her mother with with her for all the years that I have left here. I will tell stories to Heather's children about their wonderful grandmother. Her kindness, her humor, her amazing capacity for love and depth of patience beyond my understanding. I will make chocolate donuts and know that they will never taste as good or as sweet because the woman who perfected them is gone.

This is too hard.

1 comment:

Candes said...

Hi stopping by from Twitter. I've never read your blog until today and I'm touched. If my ofc didn't have a glass wall I think I'd be cring.

I'm so sorry for your loss even though she isn't your mother she's obviously had a great impact on you.

Thoughts and prayers to Heather and the whole family.