Tuesday, February 24, 2009

REMEMBERING LAURA

Her name was Laura and from as far back as I can remember she was there.

Laura was a petite little thing, truly tiny. For years the two of us battled back and forth hoping to win the coveted title of “shortest girl in the class”. Secretly I believe we both enjoyed the grade school fame brought about by our questionable stature. I think we liked the teasing, too. At the very least we enjoyed being noticed for something certainly not notable.

Her hair was golden yellow and easily framed the delicate features on her lightly freckled, pixie-shaped face. My hair on the other hand was seriously mousy brown and my nose and lips could never be considered, um…well…delicate. My mother did dress me up fancy though, and if anything set the two of us apart it was our clothing. Laura was a confessed “Plain-Jane” and I was a bit “Prissy”. Her dresses were the dime store kind and forgettable. Her socks were dingy white and more often than not her shoes were too big and overly worn. Evidence of an older sister, I suppose. Still, we were friends. And it was during those early years at Bixby Elementary we dared to dream the biggest of dreams while carrying the smallest of reservations.


I remember best fifth grade, for that was the year we played “Barbies” for hours and the one and only time Laura was allowed to spend the night. We giggled until the wee morning hours, stopping only when my father came in to settle us down. FIFTH GRADE! The unforgettable year of Red Rover, Red Rover and the begging for my “best friend” to come over… It was also the year our classmate, Cindy, was bucked from her horse and died. The year we both learned of loss, experienced real sorrow and death. I remember how we cried…we were 10.


The years flew by. Laura and I stayed friends but we were never to be as close as we were during the summer of 1968. Little by little we’d grown apart, opting to follow different paths on our journey through life. There was hurt…there was anger…and there was pride. So much stupid pride! I moved from my home state of California to Colorado during the summer of ’74, two years before our class graduated from Glen A. Wilson High School. Although I received two letters from her before our high school graduation, I was never to see Laura again…

Now...fast forward to the summer of 2008…

Because I’m hopelessly sentimental, I always prayed I’d find a copy of Wilson's 1976 Prowler Yearbook. Moving away from my homeland had always been difficult for me and even though more than 30 years had passed, I longed to see with my own eyes some of the things I had missed. I searched tirelessly on the Internet for over seven years when one day I saw the very yearbook I’d been hoping to find offered up for sale on eBay. I couldn't click on the Buy-It-Now button fast enough…

I counted down the days until the yearbook arrived. She came wrapped in simple brown paper and had a return address which included my childhood hometown. I carried the book into my office and began to tear away the wrappings, slowly, carefully opening her cover. She was in good condition. She'd been gently loved and cared for. I was actually nervous...even a little afraid some of my past might catch up with me.

I quickly searched through a maze of scribbled names and sentiments, special keepsakes, endless photos and graduation calling cards for a hint at the identity of the yearbook's previous owner. And then, just to the right of a carefully pressed corsage was a name I immediately recognized…Laura Miller.

With a little help from a sweet high school pal, I discovered much about the life of my childhood friend. Laura indeed went on to have a very difficult journey. She endured more than her share of heartache and loss and battled things I can only scarcely comprehend. There were addictions, depression, and the inability to bear children. Finally, in the end there was the ovarian cancer that robbed her of breath in May ’08. She was 49.

I cried for a bit when hearing of the news of her passing…more than a bit if you want to know the truth. Cried because we’d lost touch and grown apart… Cried because Laura’s life was so DARN HARD while mine had been fairly easy. Cried because I never took the time to find her or at least try and help her through some challenging times… Cried because I never cared enough to understand her difficult choices, her history, her heartache… Cried because I’d judged her too harshly…refusing to even acknowledge the beam in my eye while picking at the speck in hers. Mostly I cried because I never took the chance I'd been given to say “I love you” and “I forgive you”.

Today I encourage you to bind the bruised and broken, mend fences, mingle memories, melt pain. Until we make peace with others, we’ll never be at one with our Creator.

I’m preaching to the choir, friend…

Blessings…Rebecca

14 comments:

Connie said...

Ooooohmygoodness, how sweet of you to come by and see my "refurbished office, sweetpea!! I remember seeing your things on ebay and you even helped me with ruffles a long time ago. Nice to see you blogging. We're transplanted from Calif. to Idaho.

You've also touched my heart deeply with the story of Laura. I have a very tender heart and tears are streaming down this old face. I AM an old lady, ya know, chickee! But I know exactly what you mean.

But just come to visit with me and we'll exchange blogs. I've put you on my Google Reader already. I love to uplift and am a happy, positive, funny, witty and humorous chick. At least, my kids and grandkids think so. So come over and giggle with me on occasion. You will NOT be disappointed!!! If you are I'll refund your money, honey!!

:-)<------Me smiling at you!

xoxo,
Connie

A day at the Cappuccino Café said...

I sit here with tears in my eyes, feeling like I got to know a small part of a woman that left this earth too soon. Thank you for sharing this touching story and for reminding us all how important our relationships really are!

Bless you

Mr. AGP said...

My Darling Rebecca,
Oh my, my. What a great story. Everything you write is so beautiful but this one really got to me. I had to be careful not to cry at my desk, people at the office would be worried about me. :-)
Your talents never cease to amaze me. You paint a picture with words as if you had a brush in your hand. Your words, like your roses, seem to emanate a sweet fragrance, stirring emotions long since buried.
I would like to think that Laura found salvation at some point in her life and was looking down at you, smiling sweetly, as you wrote these words this morning. She would be thrilled to know that you are the one who now has charge over her precious book of memories.
I am so very proud of you and all that you do. If you keep writing like this you are going to have over a thousand followers some day! I truly believe you should be published one day as few authors I have ever read in my life can evoke such vivid scenes in my head as you do with the use of words. It is obvious to me that you are doing what God intended you to do and he is blessing you and your work. You go girl!

Love You Most,

me

A Stitch In Thyme said...

Rebecca, as I read your post and moved down the path your words took me, I realized the time you spent is what made your realize what you think you missed. I have to believe in life we learn from the participation in ones life and the removal. I think you learned the absolute gift of "compassion without judgement".

Many people judge me without knowing me and it used to bother something awful. I have two autoimmune disorders that effect my everyday life. I come from a very hard, lonely humbling past. I raised two children with disorders. I am still at the end of the day.... a woman who just needs a moment to do...whatever my soul needs.

I truly believe your dear friend Laura knows your heart. If not during her short earthly life, certainly in her heavenly kingdom.

The journey of christianity is not always easy. Much the opposite. It is ever challenging us to become better women. For ourselves and all those we touch. Let Laura's teaching be one you pass on. I believe you have been, you continue to do so. I know first hand. Your lovely emails and kind words touch a void in myself. Laura lives on. Bless you.

thecozyloft said...

Honestly, you should be a writer. How very beautiful your thoughts are and your heart is so precious! I am so very thankful I have found your blog in this world. It certainly makes me happy to know you and wish there are more people just like you. You are the kind of person I like to surround my life with. Many hugs and much love my new and dear friend! Rhonda

Tanza said...

Ooohh ~r~,
Sniff Sniff again,How true your words are, how God, the Creator, is the ultimate judge..We so easily judge others,by sight, and not by their hearts..BUT, it is in the end, we see the goodness and love in all,I believe..Thank God for HIS grace and mercy in our lives.. He loves us each where we are, in the valleys or on the mountain tops.. He is there..What a wonderful, touching story..You are truly gifted my friend, with your words..And,Mr.AGP.. aahh.. What a wonderful man you have..But, he used my "love you most", soo I'll say, love you mostess..xxoo
Big Hugs ~t~

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Rebecca, what an incredible story. You touch my heart more then you know and reflect a very similiar story. I believe everything happens for a reason and for a purpose. Perhaps to share a story, teach a lesson or bring back a memory from long ago, so worth remembering.
Laura had a purpose, only God knows why. In her short life she gave you the gift of childhood friendship in the purest kind. You loved her, and Jesus loved her more.
Blessings to you dear friend.
Celestina Marie

Karen said...

Rebecca, you are such a blessing to so many! I prayed today that you would feel the hands of God holding you, comforting and giving you the joy that you once knew with your friend Laura. What a wonderful soulmate He has given you too!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

I, too, had a wonderful friend from another city with whom I lost touch after high school. I thought she'd always be there where I could find her one day again but it was not to be. Many years later, when I began learning to use a computer, I began a search which lasted over ten years. Then last summer I found her class had celebrated a 50th year reunion and I was able to contact class members only to learn she'd passed on from breast cancer 10 years ago. I cannot tell you how sad this made me feel.

I learned that she had tried to get in touch with me too. She had married and changed her first name so nothing I could do would help find her. I also learned though we had both moved hundreds of miles away from our homes, we ended up living less than 40 miles from each other all those years. Each of us had continued to be involved in community theaters and it is amazing that we didn't actually meet again.

I decided that I have to hold her in my heart as she was and trust one day we will meet again.

Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

This story is very touching and so beautifully written. Thank you for the love (your comments) and I'm sending some love right back to you as I am putting you on my google ready. I don't want to miss a thing!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Rebecca, Thank you again for writing your story as it gave me the opportunity to know that someone else, a new friend, had gone through a similar loss. I love that God brought us together to share our experiences. Take care.

Lee Laurie said...

Rebecca,
This story really touched my heart and made me remember that our time here on this Earth is only temporary. I have 2 girlfriends that I have not kept in touch with in a very long time. Now I feel that I need to get their addresses and mail them a letter and get caught up on each other's lives. One is in Texas and one is in Tennessee. Time has a way of slipping by so fast. Thanks for this beautiful post.
Hugs to you,
Lee Laurie

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh my goodness Rebecca! I had missed this beautiful post! I have tears in my eyes and chills as I read this. You definitely spoke to me here as I too have a dear friend I need to find. You have a give for writing! Just beautiful. I can picture everything in my mind.
Big Hugs to you sweetie!
Amy

Holly said...

Hi, Rebecca! I'm not sure if we've met before but my name is Holly.

I've been reading through your blog this morning and filling my mind with your lovely pieces of work.

Reading about 5th grade while listening to Bread... How fitting. Wow. Thanks for writing this. It was beautiful. I'm happy to say that I'm still in contact with my best friend from 5th grade. Every few years we connect all over again then drift apart. Our lives are so different but we're always there for each other if needed.

Have a wonderful day. ♥

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