Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spring Will Come

Whoa, the past few weeks have been a struggle. After losing Uncle Deno then Sherrie we found out my cousin (Uncle Deno's eldest son) has bone cancer. He has a very positive attitude and I'm sure will be around for many years to come. Its just that at this point I'm wondering what is God trying to tell this family. Or is it simply that we are getting to an age where this is all typical. This may sound terrible of me, but I am glad that God took Uncle Deno first and that my parents got home from Arizona before Sherrie was taken. I can't imagine what it would have been like not being together when we lost Sherrie.
The sad thing is that long ago Sherrie was lost to our family. When I heard that Sherrie had died my first reaction was anger. I was mad at her. I was mad at myself for not taking time to reach out to her. Sherrie and my brother are 7 & 8 years older than me. Sherrie and my brother were very close when they were young and being 11 1/2 months apart were often mistaken for twins. When I was little I gravitated towards my brother more than Sher for some reason. I liked to shadow him and his friends. I know alot of that had to do to the fact that by the time my memories of Sher begin she was deep into her first love. She became pregnant and gave birth to my niece at 16. She married the father and moved out of town. I truly don't remember a whole lot of what occurred amongst the family, but I do know Sher held resentments. Sher went on to have two boys by the time she was 20. Alot of responsibility for a girl so young. Her husband was abusive more mentally rather than physically, but abusive none the less. When I graduated high school I moved away to go to school. About 2 years after I had moved my mom called me one day and told me my sister needed help. Sherrie had finally had enough of the abuse and was leaving. She left her husband and 3 babies behing and moved in with me. For the next year and a half Sher and I lived together. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I had this time with her. For this is when I truly got to know my sister. After she died I would lay at night and try so hard to remember Sher when we were young, but I just have fragments. My memories of her are as adults. When I moved back here to live with Hubster is when we first started losing Sher. I know why she drifted away and I understand. After I moved Sher got a job at Sh*pko in the bookkeeping department which was so much better than the bartending jobs she usually held. She had minimal bookkeeping experience from when she was married and to tell you the truth I didn't think this fit the Sherrie I knew. Sherrie wasn't your typical office girl, she was more of a bartender type. But none the less I was proud of her. Eventually she got interested in the security department at the store and soon she was on the floor as a decoy shopper. I never knew this before but they have people on the floor that pretend to shop. To this day whenever I'm in a department store I look at fellow shoppers and wonder if they are really a fellow shopper or watching my every move. Anyways, Sher moved up pretty quickly and had a couple of good stories about apprehending shoplifters. She actually had a shoplifter roll a car window up on her arm when she reached into shut off a ladies car and start to drive off with her. Luckily she came away with a good story and nothing more serious. She got offered a better security position with J@Penney and worked there until Targ@t came to town and offered her the head position with them. Through the years she worked hard and transferred from Montana to Oregon to California where she ended up the Northern California district head security officer. Not bad for a girl who got pregnant at 16 and graduated with a GED. The only thing is that during these years she became so engrossed in work she left everything else behind. That includes her parents, her children, her siblings. She has not seen her youngest son since he was 17 years old, he is now 29, married and has two children. All of her kids have children that she never held, never saw except for some pictures I sent her 2 years ago. She has never seen my two boys except for in pictures. The last time my parents, my brother and myself physically saw her was in 1993 when she came for a visit. 2 1/2 years ago I found myself thinking of her. Her birthday was coming up and I felt a need to talk to her. I called a number I had for her in Oregon and came up empty. I searched on the internet and finally found an address for her under her husbands name in California. I called the Tarjay here in Montana and begged them for information. Since she was in security the only thing they would tell me was that yes she still worked for the company. After several calls, eventually a gal confirmed that she was working for them in California. So I called information down there with no luck to find they had an unlisted number. I then started calling the Tarjay's down there. Finally somebody took mercy on me and gave me her cell phone number. I called her on her birthday and got her voicemail. I left a short sweet birthday greeting and really didn't expect her to call back. You see my theory is that Sher got so involved with her job and that job gave her so much. It gave her something to be proud of. She wasn't a teenage mother, she wasn't the wife of an abusive husband who told her she was stupid, ugly, and a whore, she wasn't a disappointment to her family (even though she never was) and she wasn't a bad mother. I think that she got so involved in this whole new life that when she didn't call one of her children on their birthday or acknowledge a graduation it became too embarrassing and too hard to make that first initial step to make ammends. To my suprise later that day Sher called me back. After some uncomfortable moments we eventually shared our lives. I told her I had two boys and told her she was a grandmother to 4 at that time. She went on to tell me that she had been seriously ill. Her zinc and copper levels were creating havoc with her blood and immune system. In fact she had almost died 3 months prior. All of my anger towards her was gone and the present was what mattered. For the next 3 weeks she and I conversed quite regularly on the phone. I got reports about her doctor visits and through it all we discussed the family. The doctor's were finally finding a solution to her mineral levels and she was regaining her health so she was slow beginning her return to work. During this time Hubster's boss and friend lost his life in a horrible logging accident that my hubby witnessed. Hubster was going through a terrible time, he no longer had his friend along with no longer having a job. He needed me more. My phone calls to Sher became less frequent, but during this time she made plans to come home for a visit. A few days before she was to come she called to tell me that due to work she couldn't come. This was in October when I last spoke to her. My life was topsy turvy at the time with Hubster's grief and that December I started my current job as business manager. It wasn't until one day in May that she was on my mind that I decided to call her to see how she was. We were occasionally emailing back and forth, but I wanted to hear her voice. I got her voicemail and told her to call me. She called back a few days later while I was out at the grocery store and spoke to Hubster. She was on her way to a company picnic and said she'd call back in a few days. I never did get to talk to her. We played phone tag for a few days and eventually she slipped from my mind. The end of that month Dad had his stroke. I left a message for Sher on her cell phone and emailed her also to let her know what had happened to Dad. I never got a response from Sherrie. I don't remember really being mad at Sher for not calling back, I guess I kind of expected that out of her. I was disappointed in her. I never attempted to call her after that. I figured the ball was in her court.
So when I heard Sher died. I was mad. I'm mad because I don't know what my sister looked like. I don't know if she has as much grey hair as I do and colors it the same shade of blonde. I don't know if her hair was long or short. I don't know if she still wears too much eyeliner around those beautiful blue eyes I always envied. I don't know if her chin still quivered when she was nervous or upset. I don't know if she was still overweight like I am or if she finally won the battle of the bulge. I know her voice. I do know she loved me. I do know I am the one, the only one she felt she could call. I do have that. Now that I think about it her voice is vital to me because she and I have the same voice. Her kids often tell me that they hear their mom when I speak. I know at times that has been hard for them. When I have called them they often are taken back for a moment until they know its me and not their mom. My anger towards Sherrie is no longer strong. I have good memories of our young adulthood together. Many laughs and many tears. Her husband is going to send some current photos of Sherrie to us and in a strange way I don't know if I want to know what she looked like. I don't know if I want to know as if in a way it will make my memories of the Sher I know fade. I'm sure that doesn't make sense to anybody else.
May 10th, Sherrie's ashes will be spread here where we all grew up. She told her husband that if she ever died she wanted to go home. So that gives our family peace that she did truly want to come home at some point. I just wish she could have done it when she was still alive.
One last point and I'll close. Sherrie died from a birth defect. The same defect that took John R!tter's life. I see he has been in the news again, but I change the channel whenever I see it coming on so I don't know why. I do know that there was absolutely nothing anybody could have done to bring Sher back and I know she didn't suffer. I think Sherrie had already suffered enough with the "what if's" her life held. Have peace Sher. I love you.

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