Sunday, September 13, 2009

To my Friend

Tonight, my friend Holly is slowly making her way towards eternity. 
She is in her final stages of a valiant battle with cancer.  Soon, she will be surrounded by those who have gone before her and now welcome her "home."  Soon, she will be free of the pain, the suffering and the challenges that this earthly life have offered her.  Soon, she will have peace.  The rest of us left behind will struggle to make sense of her leaving so soon.

I will miss her. 

I don't remember the first time I met Holly.  It was sometime in the late 1970's when we were in high school.  She grew up in Longmont and I grew up in Boulder.  It was church that brought us together.  Holly was a member of Longmont 2nd ward, and I was a member of Boulder 2nd ward.

  There was this group of kids that all hung out together from those two wards and we had some of the most fun together.  

 Not to sound like old people, but we really did have a lot of fun.  We spent nights having  house parties playing games like, "States" and "Winkum."  

States is a strategy game that is not for the weak of heart.   It is played with all the people in chairs placed in a circle, and one person standing in the middle of the circle holding a crudely constructed bat made from newspaper and masking tape.  (Yes, you were going to get hit with that bat)
Each person would pick a "State" that they would respond to, and yell the name of another state before getting the crap smacked out of you with the paper/ tape bat.   We would play this game for hours, making several new bats, depending on how many boys were there and how hard they would actually hit each other.  

Winkum was more of that "flirty" game that gave you the opportunity to grab that favorite guy when he tried to run out of your chair, into the chair of the person winking. 

Most evenings ended up piled into someone's family room watching  "Saturday Night Live."  These were the "good years" of SNL.  Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and John Belushi.  We could quote Roseann-rosana-dana.  We knew the lines from Weekly update.  We knew Land Shark, Bleeding Julia Child,  The Nerds...oh, too many to mention.  

I remember Holly hanging out of my 1965 Mustang throwing water balloons at unsuspecting pedestrians in downtown Boulder.  We would pull up, ask if they knew what time it was, and as they looked at their watch, Holly would blast them a water balloon.  We would speed off, laughing so hard we would nearly pee our pants, drive around the block a couple of times and do it again. 

Another adventure that Holly was a part of was TPing.  We were excellent TPers.  If TPing were an Olympic Sport, we would have been gold medalists. If we TP'd you it meant we loved you.  We did not waste time TPing those we did not care about.  If we TP'd you it was a compliment.  ( one I am sure the people appreciated being so loved as they spent their entire Saturday morning cleaning toilet paper off of trees.... chanting the mantra, "the youth love me...the youth love me.")  

We lived by the code, "It's all fun and games till someone calls the cops." 

We spent Friday night at the midnight viewing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"  We danced through that show, singing, throwing toast and squirting water bottles. I did the time warp again.. and again and again.   ( Just a few years ago I thought it would be fun to see that again, so I rented the movie and was HORRIFIED at it....and laughed that we had even drug a couple of YW leaders with us to see "how fun it was.")  Those poor women must have gone home knowing there was not one thing on the face of the earth they could do to help the hellions we were. 

Now before you read this and think we were juvenile delinquents  we weren't.  At least not in the '70s.  Today, yea, I would probably be incarcerated, and Holly would never have been able to play with me... but back then, when we rode bikes without helmets, ate wonder bread, drank from the garden hose, and played for hours without our parents really having a clue where we were, it was just good clean fun. 

There were other times too-

We did road shows, youth conferences, temple trips,  river trips, basketball games, softball games and volleyball games.  There were dances and unending laughing.  Holly was one of the first people I told when Bryan Despain kissed me.  ( he was in her ward and I had the most unexplainable crush on Bryan Despain.)  We crammed a lot of fun in a few short years. 

Her nickname became "Polly Halmer" and although it was dumb- we would laugh about it. 

Holly was there for me when my Mom died.  She, along with so many, helped me through that rough spot.  

Tonight, I think of my friend who is at home surrounded by her family and closest friends.   I will miss this wonderful person. 

I had a chance to sit with Holly the other day.  She tried to share with me some words.  I was unable to understand what she was saying, but it did not matter. Her eyes told my eyes what both our hearts knew.  We were friends.  She had touched my life and I had touched her life.   That was all that mattered.  No words were necessary.  

How grateful am I for that moment.

Tonight I remember:

Holly always has a smile on her face. 

Holly is happy. 

Holly has a beautiful voice.  I am sure they are getting her seat ready for her in the angel choir. 

Holly is kind. 

Holly always gives more of herself than she ever asks for in return. 

Holly is the kind of person that only proves the old adage "Only the good die young" is true....

Tonight I wish the best for my friend who bravely took on this fight with cancer and fought like a lion.  

Tonight I hope for a portion of the ability to be the woman she is.

Tonight, I want her to be released from this earthly life, but want so desperately for her to stay here longer with us. 

Tonight I thank God for the chance to have Holly Palmer in my life. 

Tonight reminds me again, what an impact one person makes on our life.  Tonight, I am grateful for one more random person who is part of my life, whose footprints are know eternally set in my heart and who I will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate some of her qualities.  

I don't know how much longer Holly will be with us.  The Hospice people say days. But I needed to say: 

Thank you Holly...Not only from me, but from so many of us...

You are my friend....and I love you. 

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