I'm going to have to start blogging more often because I don't want to only write when someone dies. It seems that certain people in my life deserve more than a card to their family or a check to a charity.
My friend Sharyl Patten entered heaven this afternoon after a three year battle with cancer. Once again I'm sitting here thinking back on all the connections I have with someone who has left this life way too early.
I don't remember a time when I didn't know Sharyl. She was one of my sister Phyllis's best friends, so as a kid, I tagged along with Phyllis and Sharyl so that I could play with Sharyl's sister, LuAnne. After they married, Phyllis and her husband were friends with Sharyl and Dave, and I remember them being at my mom and dad's playing cards or wahoo or dominos. The one night I remember best was the night Lori (less than 2 yrs old) was sitting in Dave's lap at the card table, and she bit the living daylights out of him. He took her out of the room to spank her, but none of us knew why, and he was so mad that it took him a while to tell us. Awkward. We thought he had lost his mind.
If I remember right, Sharyl was my niece Janna's babysitter for a while after Phyllis went to work. Then when I married into the Humphrey family, I learned that Sharyl was a life-long friend to Tony's family. Their families go back a couple of generations. Tony's dad and Sharyl's dad were best friends.
Years ago Sharyl went on a couple of ski trips together with Mary Trahan, my sister-in-law Cindy and our kids and their friends. Carson and Jason were so very impressed with her because she was such an awesome skier. She was fun to travel with and a very good sport when we stayed in the worst motel in Colorado in Del Norte.
When Sharyl was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, I was just sick, but I really thought that if anyone could beat it, she could. I hate this evil disease.
I've been thinking all afternoon about what Sharyl is experiencing right now. Barney, Phyllis, Jason and many others are welcoming her to paradise. There's no chance that the room she had been assigned is anything but perfect. That motel in Colorado was so bad that they actually gave us a room because there wasn't room for all of us in the two rooms we had reserved. Her room in heaven is perfect--clean, safe, comfortable--just the opposite of the Del Norte room with the smelly carpet, hollow core outside door, tiny bathroom, uncomfortable beds.
As I've said often, I don't believe in Rest In Peace for a believer. Live it up! Sharyl. No more pain, no more cancer, no more chemo, no more radiation, no more stomach issues, no more procedures. Her glorified body entered heaven whole and healthy. She's breathing the freshest air imaginable (probably in the mountains of heaven). I've told this story to several people, but I have to share it with her family. I read this analogy in a book recently. If a thousand years is like a day and day is a thousand years in the Lord as the scripture says, Sharyl will only be in heaven minutes before all of us join her. That blessed my heart because I have a hard time thinking of Jason waiting for all of us. If we do the math, he's only been there a few minutes.
To her family, my heart is sad for you. Your loss is great and anything I say will not lessen that pain right now. You have all been so tough and faithful to Sharyl during her illness. You have some really long days and nights ahead. Hold tight to one another to God. It's the only thing that works. Love you all.