Today is a bittersweet day.
Today a very sweet, funny, caring, loving friend is dancing with the angels.
Today my friend of 38+ yrs, Linda Marrie Cheveallier, has looked in the eyes of her Savior.
Oh the memories!! Raising our daughters together; sharing joint custody of a friend’s 2 small kids while she attended boot camp; attending a kazillion church services; hours of prayer and small group meetings in my home; cooking; having parties; family get togethers; struggles and much more. Through our friendship, I became even closer to one of her sisters, Kayline. I can’t even begin to say how beyond thankful I am of that.
Linda was big hearted and would do whatever she could to help anyone. Nothing was too small or large for her to contribute to. She didn’t let too much bother her and was often referred to as ”Scarlett O’Hara ” from Gone with the Wind, because everything could wait and be done tomorrow! Many, many years ago her next door neighbor had a garage sale. She knew I loved vintage leather suitcases and purchased one for me. Not only was it vintage, but her neighbor was the librarian from my elementary through junior high school days. Through the years and what seems like a thousand moves, the suitcase was always moved with me. She was tremendously thoughtful.
Years ago, during one of our girlie get togethers at our fav Mexican restaurant, El Reparo, we discussed peri-menopausal symptoms she was having. I begged her to have a thorough checkup and a hysterectomy if necessary. I know this is a controversial subject for some, but it changed my life, so I speak from experience. I can still remember the details like it was yesterday. Over time I’d inquire about how her symptoms were and what treatment she had chosen. I’m not certain if a pap smear had been done, but I know a hysterectomy was never an option.
Years later she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian /abdominal cancer. Would a thorough checkup have discovered this? Would a hysterectomy performed years before have prevented this? We can never know for sure. Only God knows the length of our days.
She fought valiantly through multiple surgeries, chemo, complications from diabetes, and more. Finally the doctors could do no more. Did we pray? Absolutely. Accepting that death is indeed an answer to prayer is a hard pill to swallow, but we have to believe His infinite mercy is compassion in the finest measure.
Anytime I thought of her poor prognosis it caused me to just cry without seconds notice. This was completely out of character for me. During my nursing career I’ve experienced hundreds of deaths. I’ve prayed with family members and over patients for God to show His mercy. Many times, death was an answer to prayer as death was kind by ending earthly suffering and misery. Out of character because Heaven is always in my view. Often I’d prayed prayers of salvation with my patients sometimes moments before death. Once I joined forces with a friend praying for a man in ICU who had such a debilitating stroke that all he could do was blink his eyes in agreement to prayer. His daughters literally broke down in tears when I shared the news. They had been concerned for many, many years over the state of his salvation. Again, out of character because coping with death is second nature to me.
These crying spells continued for several, several weeks and one morning, while getting ready for work, I received a beautiful attitude adjustment. Through the tears and prayers, the precious Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes and heart to see Linda would be accomplishing everything we believed in. I know that seems very simplistic for someone who claims to keep Heaven in their sights. All those years of praying, believing that Heaven is our reward and greatest accomplishment was going to happen for Linda. I immediately repented for being selfish. Yes selfish. Selfish about losing a friend and even though we hadn’t seen each other for a few years, she was one of my dearest friends. Selfish about feeling forlorn that she’s the first of my ”sisters” that was leaving. Selfish and maybe even a gut-wrenching, fearful, reality check because we’re so close in age, my own death was iminent. I became thankful. Thankful that we had amazing times through the good, bad & nightmarishly ugly. Yea, some events require inventing a new word!!! Thankful that through all the years, one constant remained…. seeing our Savior face to face was an ultimate desire. Thankful that my joyful friend was now laughing and finally enjoying immeasurable love, peace and eternal life.
I pray grace, peace and comfort over Linda’s children, who recently lost their dad to cancer and sadly, a day or so after Linda’s death, also lost their step-mother. Praying for her husband; her family and most of all her sisters, Mary and Kayline. Our pack has lost a member, but I am convinced we will be together again.
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. –Philippians 1:21