May 22, 2019
I lost a dear friend today.
I’ve requested prayer many times over the last couple of years for one of my longest and best friends.
She has battled a cancer for years that doctors told her would take her life in months.
In true Sheryl style, she lived to see her 50th wedding anniversary, the Kansas state fair, another season of Alabama football, and Christmas and Thanksgiving with her family. She told me several times how grateful she was to see those events. She didn’t think she would live that long.
Last week, her sister requested that her friends write something on her page about how they met, what she means to them, etc. This is what I wrote:
Sheryl Dimond Colle is one of my longest and dearest friends.
I met her when Paul and I had only been married a few years.
During that time, I was blessed to hear her play piano each week in church . She taught me how to quilt, and showered my family and I with her smiling face and love each week.
As the Lord so often works threads through the tapestry of our lives, Sheryl had nursing students at the hospital when I would deliver babies.
She would always send such sweet student nurses my way and would stop in to visit, as time would allow.
I felt so encouraged each time I saw her and loved how the Lord allowed us to meet.
I remember finding her on fb! That was exciting!
I was able to catch up on her family. Her daughter and son both had families, and it was so sweet to read about her grandchildren.
She started attending the community fellowship in my home, and our friendship continued to grow. ❤
She shared recipes, and her life experience with me. She was a constant source of friendship and encouragement, especially in what has been such a difficult season for our family. (This is one of my favorite posts from her blog.)
My mom passed 6 years ago. It was such a lonely time for me. I remember standing at the front of the funeral home shaking hands with people who came to pay respects. Someone stepped away, and there was Sheryl, smiling at me. She gave me a big hug and told me she loved me.
My heart was just broken, and she was so kind to me.
In the years that followed, Sheryl would come to visit and my children would run out the door to greet her. She rocked my babies for hours some days.
She came to the hospital and sat with me when one son had to have surgery and my husband was out of town. Being that both of their grandmothers were gone, that meant so much. They still talk about her and love her so much.
There are so many memories.
When Sheryl told me she was moving back to Kansas, the first thing that came to mind was the song Friends are Friends Forever, by Michael W. Smith.
I knew she would be far away, but we would remain friends always. That is just how the Lord works.
I love Sheryl. The Lord is so good to have brought her into my life. She will forever be part of my family, and part of my heart.
Sheryl called a short time after she moved from Alabama back to Kansas to tell me she had a bruise that had come up on her head. She wasn’t sure what had caused it and wanted to know my thoughts. It just looked like a bruise to me.
Being that she had just moved, I figured she had just bumped her head and didn’t realize she had hurt it.
Over the next couple of weeks, it grew larger and thicker with a raised surface. It also started to bleed some. She went to one doctor and was immediately referred to another.
Within a short time, she called and told me she had received the diagnosis of angiosarcoma and they had not given her much time.
The months have passed. She told me they had found it in her skull, and then her ribs. In these last weeks, she told me her shoulder and arm were also hurting.
At first, some of the various chemo treatments would seem to be working so well, and then would just stop.
She video phoned me a few months back. She was just finishing up a treatment at the cancer center and told me she had decided to discontinue her chemo treatment since the cancer seemed to be growing and her quality of life was declining sharply.
I cried some. She cried. The nurse came up behind her to find out who she was talking to- she made a joke that she knew from my accent that she was talking to someone from Alabama. We laughed. Laughter is good for the soul and especially for two friends who are hurting.
A few days later, she video called again. This time, there was some sadness in her voice. We talked for some time and she told me she didn’t think she would live more than 3 weeks. I shared some thoughts. We cried together again. I asked her if she would say hello to my mom when she sees her and tell her I love her and have missed her so very much. She said she would do that for me.
Before we got off the phone, she mentioned she would love to see me. She mentioned it again later that week. I told her I didn’t know how that could happen. Kansas is a long way from Alabama!
Her sister mentioned it to me again about a week later. I told Paul that I would love to see her again. I felt like it was something I just needed to do. It took me by surprise when he said he thought we might be able to make that work.
What? He was going to be home for a few days and had some flight points.
I was still wondering how it was going to work with my littles. I figured there was no way we would be able to pull it all together but two of my completely amazing, grown children volunteered to stay with them, and the flights were booked.
Right up to the day we flew out, I kept thinking things would not work out, but step by step, it came together and before I knew it, Paul and I were at the airport ready to fly.
I messaged Sheryl at some point and told her we were on our way.
It has been 30 years since I have flown. I was scared out of my mind, but knew the Lord had put all the little details together, and I needed to be in Kansas.
I had the best time flying with Paul. It was nice to just sit and hold his hand for a while. Every time I heard from the house, things seemed great. Courtney was keeping all the little people busy during the day and Matthew stayed with them at night.
We arrived in Kansas in the early afternoon hours. Everything is so flat!
We grabbed lunch and headed to Sheryl’s house. It was surreal to pull in front of her house. My mind kept thinking my friend was on the other side of that door. I could not get my seatbelt unbuckled fast enough.
I was so happy to see my sweet friend, her husband and her little dog, Annie. It had been so long.
The cancer had spread so much, even since the last photos she had sent to me. We sat and talked. She showed us around her house.
She was so weak, and I could tell she was tired, but she was Sheryl and no matter what was going on with her body, she had the same joyful spirit.
At some point, she told me she couldn’t believe I had actually come. She said she would read my messages and each time, would think it couldn’t possibly be happening and then it did! That is exactly how I felt.
She cried and said she was just so glad to see me. I was so glad to see her. I needed to hold her hand again.
I’m so thankful I took that trip. God is so good.
I thought that might be the last time I spoke with her. Last Friday, my phone rang as I was shopping in Costco. It was Sheryl’s sweet daughter asking if I wanted to say goodbye to her while she was still talking and able to understand. That was one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had. I was able to say goodbye (but only for now!). She also talked to Emma about her broken arm.
We hung up and I cried for a few minutes while I tried to finish my shopping. ( I’ve written more about that in a blog post that I’m late posting.)
I actually ended up being able to talk to her again this week. She didn’t say a whole lot but wanted to talk to me. We chatted about the 4H event Emma just attended, and then she told me she needed to go.
I think I’ve known she would not live through this week. This morning, I woke up with her in my thoughts and as I have so many mornings and almost every evening during these years, I prayed for my friend.
Late this afternoon, her sister phoned to tell me she was with the Lord.
I am so sad. I’m missing her terribly. I’m also so happy. She doesn’t have cancer any more. She is with the Lord and resting peacefully now. Maybe she is talking to my mama.
Whatever she is doing, I’ll be so happy to see her again one day.
I loved Sheryl. She was one of the best friends I have ever had. She is going to be missed terribly.
I’m thankful the Lord allowed me to visit her. I’m thankful for the phone calls and conversation and love she poured out onto my family. Please keep her family in your prayers.