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Have No Regrets, Make Calll

Do it today. Right now, think about that one person in your life that you have been meaning to call. I know you’re busy with work, the kids, grandma and grandpa, etc., but stop and do yourself and that one person a favor.

It’s just a phone call — not a text message, not an email — but voices exchanging words. Even if it’s as simple as “Hi, I’ve been thinking about you,” or “Whatcha doing?”

Better yet, look that person up and pay him or her a visit. A hug can melt away any doubt that you were missed.

I lost my oldest best friend Sherry last weekend. A very mean cancer took her from this world too soon. Our final hug was painful for both of us — in different ways. When she could no longer verbalize her thoughts, a squeeze of the hand and that look in her eyes told me everything I needed to know.

There was irony in the timing of her death. It was the same evening that the Ohio County Relay for Life was holding its annual event at Wheeling Park. As I sat at Sherry’s bedside, I could picture all those people walking around the lake at the park — the survivors, the current patients, their caregivers and families. I remember the luminaries at dusk that lined the lake, reminders of those lost and saved. I felt a twinge of anger. Why couldn’t I be walking around the lake with Sherry?

But life and death had a different plan. It consumed a beautiful person in mind and body. It robbed her sisters and brother of their youngest sibling and me of a friend I loved.

Sherry and I went to grade school and high school together. High school proved a challenge for both of us in many ways, but somehow we walked across the graduation stage on time. Later, we went in opposite directions with promises to stay in touch. The years moved by swiftly with their challenges. In recent years we exchanged phone calls which lasted longer than some marriages.

When we met up at Riesbeck’s, we would talk so long that the ice cream in my cart would be melting.

Sherry spent her life taking care of others, including her aged mother, who passed away a few years ago. She scoffed at the idea of someone caring for her, but her beautiful sisters were at her side to the end.

As her illness swept into her bones and robbed us of her ornery smile, Sherry retreated into a world of computer games and screen time. She rarely left the house. And before she left this world, she made it clear she didn’t want a funeral or fanfare at her passing.

Sorry, Sherry. I had to share our story so others will know how important it is to pick up the phone or show up at the door before it’s too late.

Now there will never be a reason to call her phone number or share a laugh in the produce aisle at Riesbeck’s.

I miss you already, Sherry.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at: hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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