Today is a sad day for me. Two years ago today, my dear friend and sister-in-law, Bonnie, lost her courageous battle with cancer. I can honestly say that I have missed her every day of these past two years. There have been so many times when I have wanted to ask her advice, share a joke or a sadness with her.
I met Bonnie when I was nine years old and she was eleven. Our family moved into a house kitty cornered across the street from hers. We were instant friends. She helped me transition into the neighborhood, the school and the community.
Ours was a very small school so the two years difference in our ages didn't matter much. Bonnie was always there for me. She was, in many ways, my big sister. She was my mentor in cheerleading, my advisor in matters of the heart, my friend through thick and thin.
Strange isn't it, that as adults she became my big sister-in-law. We didn't plan to marry brothers (who happened to be our neighbors), it just happened that way. And for the early years of our marriages, we were all busy with our careers, families, etc. and only saw each other on holidays.
Bonnie and Laverne didn't have children of their own, but they were the best Aunt and Uncle any kids could ask for. Bonnie was the "Queen" of all aunts and my girls adored her, as did all the nieces and nephews and then the great nieces and nephews. They were blessed to have her as their aunt.
As our children left the nest and we settled into the second half of our lives, Bonnie and I really reconnected. She was truly my sister. We travelled together, talked on the phone, and finally,(I believe to Bonnie's chagrin) emailed. Actually, I did most of the emailing. She never arrived at the point of having a love affair with the computer.
She insisted on calling each of us personally to tell us of her lung cancer diagnosis. She made it sound so matter of fact, that I really believed it was just an inconvenience, not a life threatening condition. Even though I now believe she new better, she convinced me that she would beat this monster. We talked about the trip to Italy we were going to take when she was well again.
Cancer is an ugly disease and in spite of her strength and courage, it moved from her lungs to her pancreas, liver and brain. Jim and I, along with other family members spent the last week of her life sitting by her hospital bed. Bonnie never lost her sense of humor. She made jokes with the nurses, doctors and family members.
The night before she slipped into a coma, she asked Jim and me to kiss her goodnight. Her last question to me was, "Will you be here in the morning?" Bonnie, I miss you and look forward to that morning when I know I'll see you again.