Yesterday I processed through some thoughts on the death of my sweet friend, Sheri.
To get caught up: feel free to click here.
Sheri died on a Tuesday (which our #tribe all thought was appropriate because that has always been “our day” to meet/gather). It was crazy to think about what she was experiencing that morning – and every moment since!
In typical character of my friend, she donated her body to medical research with the desire to help others. Her husband and family decided to wait till the following week to have her Memorial Service – which turned out to be a wonderful decision. It gave us all time to privately grieve, plan a beautiful service and welcome out of town guests.
When it came time to make decisions for the service, Sheri’s husband graciously invited me into that space. I went to the funeral home with members of her family and was asked my opinion on what I thought Sheri might like, etc. It was a privilege to be there and see members of her family seek to honor Sheri’s life.
At one point decisions were being made on who would speak/share at the service. A dear friend and Elder of our church would officiate the service. Plans were made for Sheri’s sister, her Aunt, and one of her sons to share words and scripture. Chris, Sheri’s husband, said he wanted to speak at the very beginning – thanking everyone for being there. It all sounded lovely and exactly what Sheri would have wanted.
At one point I offered the suggestion, (my heart was beating too fast not to say anything), to ask Caroline (Sheri’s closest friend in our #fiveOverFifty group) to share about what she had seen in Sheri’s life. Caroline has always been the caregiver of our group – she was a medical professional before she moved to the United States and spent many hours with Sheri…driving her to doctor appointments and chemo treatments, praying, and just “being” with her.
Sheri’s family agreed that they thought that would be special and I agreed to ask her.
My “ask” was planned for the following day (Friday) when we/#tribe had our first gathering (without Sheri) planned at her favorite spot – La Madeline. Caroline had already instructed us that we would “sit by the fire and order onion soup – because that was Sheri’s favorite”. However, in the hours after the meeting with the funeral home and before I met with the girls, God gave me a clear vision of what needed to happen and “who” needed to speak…
…it was ALL OF US.
So- we met at the table by the fire and I started filling in the group on what was planned for the service and details that I needed to share with them…and then I got to the part about “So…they are having some family members speak, which will be great, but I realized sitting with them that they know her differently than we do AND we know her differently than they do…and I really think we need to share both.”
Immediately Jenn jumped in (pretty sure her jaw was clinched!) and said, “LORI EUBANKS…you tell me RIGHT NOW if you volunteered us to speak. I’m not kidding, I don’t think I can do it. Oh my gosh, I’m starting to sweat!” #dramaticMuch 😊
After the initial shock wore off and I assured her that “You will be fine…and you don’t HAVE to say anything if you don’t think you can…but – in my head, I see us standing there ALL TOGETHER. Whether ONE person represents the group and speaks, or we all do.”
And so (after some deep breathing exercises by Jenn) – during a lunch at La Madeline’s, in front of the fire and with an empty chair at the table, we put together a plan to honor our friend.
We would all walk up together…and we would all share about our friend.
Yes, even Jenn! 😊
Tomorrow I’ll share about the actual Memorial Service (link is now at the bottom of this post) but let me end with this today…
I love all the different emotions God has given us. While we, to this day, always cry when we are together (and over daily texts/Marco Polo)…we have also had some crazy moments of laughter. Moments that many might find “inappropriate” or “weird”, but have helped us in grieving this loss together.
One of those was in regards to the family putting together the Memorial Video for the service. As a group we kept sharing photos of Sheri on our text thread and saying, “I think they REALLY need to use this photo” or “Let’s send this one and tell them to include it – it’s so great of US!” and finally comments like, “Seriously – would it be ok if we just did our OWN video with pictures of JUST US and Sheri?”
So, one of these days, there will be a video montage of “us”….but, until then, here are SOME pics of #fiveOverFifty .
Click HERE for #Sheri – Part 3 #fiveOverFiftyFOREVER