It was one of those moments when you can’t let grief break your heart any longer.
Yesterday I was searching frantically for a fond memory from way back when I was only 15 years old. As I kept looking everywhere possible, I tried to reassure myself, “There is no way I would have tossed a book of prose written by my classmates.” Starting as a very young child, I had loved collecting poem books.
Before my close friend, Cathy’s recent death from a brutal cancer, she let me know that it was okay if I didn’t like her nickname for me and besides she said, “I haven’t been calling you Annie Jo for that long.”
Hearing the fragileness in her voice, I didn’t ask her for an explanation why she would even think that. Instead I said with certainty, “No, you are the only one who has ever called me “Annie Jo.” I even have proof where you left me a love note in one of my books when we were in high school. I still have it you know.”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t her gaunt body withering away from such a horrible disease that scared me, but rather I so much wanted to see that sparkle in her blue eyes once more, like a beautiful sunrise glistening on the gentle ripples of the clearest blue lake. In the same visit to say my last goodbye, I talked about how I had hoped to rent a movie that the two of us and her sister had seen together as teenagers. We both laughed as I mentioned the tear-jerker that I had been teased unmercifully for a long time after.
Seven weeks later my dear friend tragically passed away at only 56 years old.
I haven’t found that poem book yet, but I wanted her know that she had written this in my yearbook over 38 years ago on a page ironically titled, “IT’S OVER.”
Dear Sweet Sis, Annie Jo,
What a sweet, but sad page to write upon. Well, once we realize that it’s not over, but that instead it’s “forever,” we’ll both be better off, right?
BLEEP! Didn’t know yer Kookie sis’s at it again, did ya Pumpkin? Well, yelp! I’ll never forget Love Story, will you, soggy-eyes? Nooo Way.
Thank you for being.
Sisters are forever
I know that poem book will show up one of these days when I need a sweet reminder of your years of love and encouragement in my life. And oh yes, it’s okay if I cry when it truly has been a love story. I haven’t quite figured out how I want to honor “my cherished nickname” in your memory. I’ve been thinking it might have a wonderful significance on my birth certificate that still lists me as only “Baby Girl,” with a mother and father that were never even a part of my life. You have always understood how deeply this little oversight has hurt me. Or maybe, it would make a great pen name? Whatever I choose, I do know that “Sisters are forever.”
I loved you with my heart!
Your Annie Jo