It was one of those moments when you can’t let grief break your heart any longer.

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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.

And remember:

Sisters are forever

Love, Cat

Dear Cathy,

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

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  • Kelly Bean says:

    Lovely Blog. You will be an excellent blogger- what a perfect venue for you to share your writing. I am sure you will bless others and Enjoy the process!
    So sorry to hear of your recent losses

  • Tracy and Don says:

    We love your new blog!

  • What a sweet and lovely remembrance. Thank you for sharing it, JoAnne, and the blessing of it! My sympathy to you in the loss of this special friend.

  • Rilla says:

    You know what’s funny? When I was a little girl, I learned how to play Love Story on the piano and sometimes, if I played it just so, with the right amount of feeling… Mom would tear up. When you see her again, you can jar her about it.

    I’m glad you’re blogging! I’m bookmarking you and will be one of your regulars. I’m glad we have so many ways to hold on to each other.

    I’m glad you’re finding solace in your writing. My sadness has still not arrived fully, like a rainstorm that keeps passing me just a little too far to the north. I’m probably just keeping myself too busy, but on the days when I’m feeling the greatest weight from the grief, I find the most relief in writing. I’m glad you’re sharing yours. I did take the chicken soup books from Mom’s shelf and am looking forward to thumbing through and reading your stories there.

    Thanks for letting me know where to find your blog! Here’s to many more years of successful writing.

    Sending love your way!

  • I am glad that you have your blog to talk about things so very close to your heart. You will be so much the better for having an outlet instead of keeping it inside. God bless, Jules

  • Liberty says:

    I’m proud of you and this new venture. Have fun, and I’ll be checking in. I too am sorry for your loss, but am so glad Cathy was in your life.

  • Helen says:

    So touching!!I loved the way you described the sparkle in her eyes. She seems to be a person worth knowing. Sorry for your loss.

  • Mella says:

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one 😉

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  1. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
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