My beautiful, beautiful friend Sherri, known here and elsewhere in the blogging world as Shoo Shoo, passed away suddenly before Christmas after a brief, unexpected illness. It has felt like an open wound that I've left uncared for since. I was able to get busy with the holidays and work for a few weeks, but I traveled to attend her memorial service last week and that has made it impossible to deny that my lovely, loving friend is gone.
I am almost 52 years old (I was 34 when I started this blog) and I guess as expected I am losing more people as I age. But this was untimely and it feels so cruel. I keep trying to talk to her out loud, but all I can say is, "Sherri, how could you?"
Her best friend, whom I had never met, texted me one night, "This is Shawna, Sherri's friend. Can you talk for a minute?" That is not a text you want to receive. And everything gets blurry after that.
I am not doing well. I'm not too alarmed because I don't think I'm supposed to be doing well, but I am not. I have been reluctantly dragging my body around, to work, to the grocery store, to wherever, without really inhabiting it; I don't know if this makes sense, but I feel like I'm in a ghost costume like a kid would wear and I have a sheet over my head and two eye holes cut out and I'm just staring through the eye holes but it's not really me.
Sherri and I had kept in touch since we met in college in the early 90s. We did some traveling together, we wrote gobs of letters and eventually emails, and we talked on the phone. She visited me when I lived overseas. She used to come up to see family in the area yearly and we would get together for a few hours and catch up. She suffered a terrible loss months before the pandemic and we'd only gotten in touch a few times each year since then. At the memorial, I met her other friends and learned that she had been doing very, very poorly the last few years. I don't know if I'll ever get over how quickly I was able to make plans to fly to her service, but I didn't get myself down to see her for several years. Why didn't I? I'm so sorry I didn't. When she was going through her own grief and loss, she didn't reach out much and at times she wouldn't respond when I reached out to her. I understood and I told her that - she was doing her best and I knew she loved me. Instead, I stayed in touch with her young daughter, deciding her daughter might benefit from having another person regularly reaching out with love and support. But why didn't I put myself on a plane, show up on her doorstep, and tell her I would hold her and not let go until she felt stronger? Why didn't I?
I thought we had forever. During times when we were in and out of various relationships, Sherri would tell me that men and relationships would come and go but that she and I would have each other forever. It brought me so much comfort when she would say that. We both believed it.
I'd hoped I could get on here and summarize how deeply sad I feel about losing Sherri and say goodbye to her. I can tell that isn't what this is. I don't have goodbye in me yet. Sherri was smart and well-read and loyal. She was funny, oh my God she was funny. She loved music deeply, and she loved cheese. She cared about her friends and expressed it in words and actions. She persevered through a tremendous amount of shit during her life. She loved her daughter so, so much. She was a wonderful friend and a really good human. I am so, so glad that we met. My heart right now is broken.