To My Dear Friend

Me, Sandy, and Kathy at a winery on the river. It was pouring rain that day and we were soaked to the skin. So why am I the only one that looks like a drowned rat? You too came out FAB!

Dear Sandy,

Tomorrow I’ll drive down to your hometown to hug your family.  We’ll cry at our loss of having you near.  I can’t say I’ll be telling you good-bye then.  I did that two weeks ago on the phone.  My gut said this was it, my heart didn’t want to hear it.  Still I can’t help but smile through the tears so glad I got to tell you one more time, how much I love you my dear friend.

No you don’t look silly Kathy, you are just telling it like it is. Sandy is taking you seriously too.

When I remember you it’s through smiles. I remember working together and how you were great to show me the ropes at a new company.  Then started our monthly Girls Night Out (GNO as they call them now) at the Mexican restaurant with Kathy. We made a trio.  We took a whole table for the night but always tipped accordingly while we dished over margaritas, chips and salsa, and dinner.  I always got the extra hot green salsa, remember?Fun times!

Honestly it helped me cope with working full-time, having a toddler that moved on to middle school by the time our monthly meetings chapter came to a close.  Different jobs, different companies, different people came and went for the three of us during those days but we  held on to our  regular meetings.  Maybe it was augmented by the tequila but I know it was the friendship that kept it going.

Like all things in life that phase reached its end.  But the three of us had not reached an end to our friendship nor will we ever.  Once all of us had settled out here in the Midwest we began something better than just GNOs. We started GWAs (Girls Weekend Away)!

Ahh, now the mention of Dubuque will always make me smile.  It couldn’t be as frequent as monthly but twice a year was enough when we brought our own booze.  Moved on from margaritas to gin & tonic.  Mexican gave way to a bit of poker on a river boat.  Dishing went from taking a table to meeting in Kathy’s room in our PJs with snacks.  Friendship grew into loving the time spent with my two big sisters. I learned so much from you and Kathy.  You’d both been there and could give advice.  Heck when we hit a stumper at least we could commiserate and take my, your, or Kathy’s side.

No way we were doing that!

Those days are some of my warmest memories.  I even brought Aaron along (later doing the Mississippi River Museum with him stands as one of my best Mom & Me memories).  We had craft fairs, poked about small boutique shops. Even had a causality in one that required a band-aid on Kathy.  We gawked at the incline and swore none of us would ride it.  Leave it to my son to take that as a personal challenge and ride by himself.  There were carriage rides with Kathy’s sister when she came one weekend.  Kathy and I even got you to get your ears pierced!  Finally!  It was time girlfriend! There were chili cook-offs one fall made for a great lunch in the park.  Though we changed hotels, saw stores come and go, watched the Julian Inn be refurbished, heard as Kathy’s kids got married, Aaron grew up, and you got me interested in genealogy.  Those things changed but our loving friendship only deepened.Then cancer came like a dark shadow into your life.  Our meetings had to be more infrequent as you waged a defiant battle for more time to relish the days.

Kathy needed a bandage after shopping.

I remember our trip to the genealogy library in Fort Wayne – how we giggled at my rented Nissan Cube.  It was a silly looking thing.  How we got lost the first time going from the hotel to the library and toured the country side.  Ahh but laughing as usual we found our way.  I’ll always cherish that trip with you.  That’s why I’ve made a donation to them in your memory.  I’ll always think of you when I get a chance to do more research there.  Oh and I’ll think of us giggling at the silly rental car too and smile.

It’s been a year, maybe two, since the three of us took our last trip to Dubuque.  You were on oxygen.  We met in your room because you got the free suite upgrade.  Kathy had moved to Tennessee and flew into the tiny Dubuque airport.  It was us again.  I remember sitting on the patio of the hotel sipping tonic – my drinking days long behind me due to medication.  We counted down to the supposed rapture that was happening that day at a particular time.  I shared that I secretly hoped they’d fly nude into the air in front of us and we’d stay there munching popcorn, laughing, dishing dirt, and enjoying one another.  They didn’t fly but that’s where I see us when I think about it – there laughing, looking for naked flying people, enjoying the comfort of years of friendship, having our own personal rapture in the sun.  In my heart we stayed there, Sandy.  That sunny happy afternoon will always be where I’ll meet us to stroll down memory lane.

C’mon Sandy it wasn’t THAT bad. You even admitted it wasn’t bad at all.

Over the years all three of us enjoyed meeting in Dubuque during the transition seasons.  In Spring Kathy and I would soak up the first warm rays of Summer.  When it was Fall we’d lounge on hotel and restaurant patios enjoying the last of rays before the harsh winter.  Now you my dear friend have led the way in making another transition, one where you no longer have pain or need that oxygen.  One I’m glad you’ve made but I selfishly cry because the chapter of the three of us meeting in Dubuque has closed forever. Farewell my friend until we meet again…

Love always,

Mary Louise

10 thoughts on “To My Dear Friend

    • Megan there you are! I do miss you. You should shout out more often.

      Yes Sandy was a wonderful woman who met every challenge in her life with a sunny smile and steel determination. Grace, style, humor, hard work, and most importantly humor were her strengths. She is missed here but as we know she isn’t gone by any measure.

      BB to you and yours.

  1. Ditto to what Sylvia said. Beautifully written, now I feel like I know all three of you. Friendship is one of those things in life that we must cherish, and it sounds like you all knew that too. Thanks for reminding us today…

    • Sandy was one of the lights of world. Great gal with so much to offer people! She will be missed greatly.

      Yeah call your friend, tell ’em now how much they mean to you – you’ll never regret it.

  2. This is a wonderful reminder of how it was with us. On that last trip, somehow I had Sandy’s car keys with me when I went to the tiny Dubuque airport to fly back to Tennessee. Her phone call caught me as I was boarding. Whew! Kathy

    • I remember taking Sandy there to the tiny airport out in the cow pastures. She ran in anxious and left smiling holding up her keys! All was well that ends well. We laughed on the way back to the hotel that’d have to make a detour to take her home if she’d not caught you in time.

  3. Very touching. I feel like I know her from hearing you talk It is sad too many people have to go thru this horrible thing. She must have been a fighter and still hold her head up and laugh. Few can do this. The world is at a loss. To God be the glory, she is with him in a better place.

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