My dearest friend Trisha died today.
She was 67 years old.
While she was gardening (a favorite pastime) she experienced a stroke. The medical staff could not save her. I’m certain she’s in Heaven now but those of us on earth who she left are devastated.
If I had a sister, I could not love her more than I love Trisha.
As I entered third grade in a new neighborhood and a new school, Trisha and her family moved in next door. She started second grade. That was 60+ years ago. She went to a different school and a different church than I did. I had two older brothers. She had two older brothers – and 9 (NINE) younger siblings!
Our respective parents lived in those houses way after Trisha and I each married and moved away. It was our home base. Her house was where I learned to eat fish – every Friday. I also learned to eat fast so I’d get a portion. 😊
When I’d come back for a visit, I always went next door to visit Trisha’s mom.
We did get in some occasional trouble together. One instance: As kids, we could walk to the “club” and go swimming every day, all day. An older friend there hooked us up with some cigarettes one day. I think we were about 12/13 and coughed more than smoked but felt mature yet guilty! A day or so later, when I was at her house, her mother told me she knew what we had done and to never, never, never do that again. I could not believe she found out and Trisha had no answer – until ten years or so later when she confessed to me that she herself had squealed! Trisha could not live with herself so had to tell.
There was one phobia she never could overcome. She could not have an overnight at my house. She could last maybe until 10pm and then just had to go across the yard and back home. We tried and we tried. Her mother left the back door unlocked, expecting the inevitable.
Trisha loved to come to my house. To her it was a sanctuary. I had my own room and my own toys and a dollhouse. She had 8 (EIGHT) sisters. Enough said!
In her house, as the oldest daughter, she was the second mother. She was very efficient with those babies that seemed to appear every 1 ½ years or so. She was so efficient that some of my neighborhood babysitting opportunities went to her instead. 😊
A favorite memory happened several years running in the early 1960s. A parent would drive us to the local commuter train station (way before Amtrak)and we’d take the day to ride to downtown Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal. We’d then take a short walk to the infamous Wannamaker’s and commence to do all our Christmas shopping in one day. It was a most delightful day in the large department store with elevator operators and light shows and dancing waters. The amazing outside window displays were a show in themselves. I believe there were 14 floors and we pretty much covered most of them. Every time I see the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, I’m reminded of our adventures.
When I left the state of Pennsylvania and moved halfway across the country to Missouri it was a different time. Communication consisted of letter writing or very expensive land-line phone calls. Trisha’s birthday was in October and mine in March. We’d save up all year and call each other on our birthdays, talking for up to two hours! This went on for years. With the advanced technology, we communicated much more often. In fact, I spoke with her only a week ago (for which I am now more than ever thankful.)
We share with each other our ups and downs, our jobs, our children, and now our grandchildren. We rejoice with each other and pray for each other.
When my mother turned 90 and we had a big party for her in Missouri, I bought Trisha a plane ticket so she could join in.
A year or so ago, hubby and I took a trip to the east coast to see my roots, my homes, my hangouts, and my friends. Trisha and I connected and met up with another neighbor, Lynn, for a reunion lunch. I am now more than ever grateful for that time.
Trisha did not have an easy life. But she was a trooper. And she was grounded in her faith in her Savior. We spoke a lot about that. Jesus was such a comfort to her.
Her love was unconditional, to her family, her friends, and to me.
My heart hurts with sadness. And shock! I know there’s a part of her that will be with me always, and I’m better for it. But it’s sad to know I cannot pick up the phone, or text, or email her at any given moment. As our friend and neighbor Lynn said, “Unfortunately we will be saying goodbye to one of our oldest friends on earth.”
I cannot imagine how her children Shane and Erin, and grandchildren and extended family miss her.
Even in death Trisha continues to give. The Gift of Life Donor Program has taken over and they are seeking to bless as many families as possible.
My one consolation? I know we’ll be together again. We share the same Savior.