6/03/2015

When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

Two years ago, when I actually did my hair and make-up and wore nicer clothes than my comfy t-shirts and yoga pants, a loyal TV viewer connected with me.

Her name was Sara.

Sara was kind, honest, and a huge supporter of my work.

She was home bound for health reasons, but always kept up on current events. 

When I walked away from my television career, she continued following my blog. 

"Love that little Sweet Cheeks!" she'd write whenever she saw a picture of Olivia. 

We became Facebook friends and exchanged frequent messages about life, our mutual love of coffee and current events. 

For Christmas, I asked if I could drop off homemade cookies.

We sat and talked for almost an hour. 

I gave her a big hug when I left, and I promised her I'd bring Sweet Cheeks by to brighten her day.

That was in December.


Sara was one of the first people who found out about Kendra because she grew worried with my brief hiatus from social media.

But when she learned why I hadn't logged on, she rejoiced in our happiness.

That was in January.

Weeks after wrapping our heads around Kendra's whirlwind adoption, I got a card in the mail from Sara.

She sent us $25 with one instruction: For Chris and I to go to the movies on a date.

That was in February.

In the following weeks, we swapped a few stories over Facebook and email, and she always left messages about how beautiful my daughters were whenever she'd come across a photo. 

"Did you go to the movies yet?" she asked.

"Not yet...we've been so busy," I said as I explained Chris' job transfer and our impending move 2.5 hours away.

That was in March.

Days went by, and I got an email in my inbox from Sara.

Subject: Sorry
Message: Shelley – I’m sorry to send this information via email – but, I know you’re a prayer warrior and so, I’m choosing to share this with you.

Sara went on to tell me about her kidney cancer.

It had spread and she chose to forego treatment.

Her care manager was Cedar Valley Hospice.

That was in April.

I asked Sara if I could bring Sweet Cheeks and her Lil' Sis for a short visit.

"What kind of ice cream do you like?" I inquired, insisting we bring some on our visit.

"I love strawberry milkshakes from Culver's," she said. 

Our visit was postponed after Olivia was sick in the Emergency Room.

Then Kendra was sick a week later.

I apologized the two times I had to reschedule, and -- in typical Sara-fashion -- I received her complete understanding each time.

"You just keep giving me something to look forward to!" she said with well-wishes to feel better soon.

A few weeks later, I sent Sara a message and said, "I'm going to be an auntie! My sister's going to have her baby!"

"WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! I'll join with you in singing 'te deums!'" she replied.

That was in May.

And that was the last I heard from Sara.

Sara died.

Now it's June.

She's gone.

Now I'm sitting here hunched over my laptop trying to process the death (and life) of such kind, thoughtful woman.

And even though I know she wouldn't want me to, I'm kicking myself for not rescheduling our visit sooner.

I'm also reminiscing at how two strangers became friends, and I'm grateful for that.

I loved and valued the unique friendship I had with Sara, and I'm reminded how quickly it can change.

We all have someone in our lives we've been meaning to connect with, and for one reason or another it just hasn't worked out.

You know...that friend we've had a hard time making time for because our schedules don't line up or our kids are sick or have a tournament or swimming lessons or whatever.

If there's anything I've been reminded of now more than ever, it's that we need to prioritize time for people in our lives who are important to us. 

Life is busy. Next week is even busier. But tomorrow? It may not even come, you guys.

Think of that person right now that matters to you.

Think of that person you haven't made time for.

Call her.

Call her right now.

Send her flowers. Mail her a card. Shoot her an email.

Better yet, hop in your car and hit up the nearest drive-thru for a strawberry milkshake and hand-deliver that sweet goodness to her in person TODAY.

Don't wait. 

Because tomorrow may not even come. And then it'll be too late.

Related content:
Why I'm Walking Away From TV
My "I'm Not On TV Anymore" Bucket List