I can’t imagine a world without my friend Wendy. She’s been a good friend for so long, it really seems like she was part of our family. That was her way, though. She loved well and was so giving of her time and resources to others. Our family can attest to that as much as any other. Maybe even better.
Wendy died this morning. As I write these words, I can scarcely believe it myself. It was not even a month ago we were laughing uncontrollably about something ridiculous. We definitely loved to laugh together. That was before she texted me to tell me she had cancer again. That was before the long chat we had about what could happen. That was before it did.
I had the privilege of being able to sit with her before she died. To hold her hand and sing to her. As I looked around the room I saw the blanket my Aiden picked out for her. I saw the purple socks Micah chose for her warming up her feet. My heart broke all over again, because in a way Wendy was a grandmother to them.
She was doing respite care for us before it was an actual thing in our household. She would love on my kids from the time they were just babies until this morning when she went to her heavenly home. She did all sorts of things for them, so many adventures with them.
Like doing a puzzle by the fire. A pirate puzzle, because that’s his favourite thing. And baking cookies to enjoy together afterwards because that’s just what they liked to do.
Like the time she took Micah to Winterfest. I could have hugged her a million times because he had always wanted to go but my legs couldn’t allow for that much walking in the snow. And when he returned home, cheeks rosy and eyes wild with excitement – hers were too.
Like that hot September day she took Aiden downtown to a concert during the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival and he beat a drum to his hearts content. I am sure she had a headache later that evening, but if she did, she didn’t seem to mind.
Like that time she took Micah to see the Minions movie. Even though she hated Minions. She later told me they grew on her because the boys liked them so much.
Like the time she took them to the Country Pumpkin. Many trips in the summer and fall. Fresh veggies, the bakery, the animals. I think sge enjoyed it as much as they did.
Like the many, many times she made Aiden this happy because he was heading over to her house for a sleepover. She said she figured he would be bored at her house. He never was.
Like the time she took Aiden to the travelling Reptile Zoo because he loved them all so much. She knew what his little heart needed.
Like the time she took them on a hike. Up, up and up they climbed. This is one of my favourite photos ever. Wendy with her boys. (Maybe version 2.0 since she had two grown boys of her own).
I know they will feel the loss of such an important person in their lives. Although today, they’re rejoicing she’s in heaven and no longer living with cancer.
It isn’t just them who will feel the loss. She wasn’t just a respite worker, although the kids often introduced her that way. Wendy always said “friends first, respite worker second.” That was so true. Because she was indeed my friend.
And I will miss those giant belly laughs. I will miss the lunch dates and the shopping trips. I will miss the crazy stickers we added to our texts. I will miss her cherry cheesecake. I will miss her purple hair. All of those things.
But most of all I will miss my friend. So thankful and blessed to have had her in my life. So grateful for the time we did have together. And tonight, as I lay my head down to sleep, I’ll rest knowing she’s at home with her Saviour.
Goodbye, my dear sweet friend. I will see you again some day.