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August 8, 2012

‘Hey Sis…wanna take an oil class with me?’

‘Uh…maybe. I’ll think about it. When?’

She told me the date & time. With nothing on my calendar for that date I agreed, knowing I’d be hooked the minute I picked up a brush. Truth be told, I’d been eyeing up my grandmother’s paintings & wondering if I had any artistic talent. I’d ignored the urge for quite a while. I already had too many hobbies!

In fact, if memory served, I had shared that thought with Lisa…I’m sure I did. Just what was she up to here?

My email wasn’t ‘craftyladykaren’ for nothing. And for good reason…I knit, crocheted, made cards, scrap booked, gardened, sewed, and read, among other things. I was trying to simplify my life, not find another hobby!

Lisa, my best friend for the past twelve years, was dying from ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed 3 ½ years ago at stage 3B. Not good. Her cancer had metastasized before it was discovered. So we knew this wouldn’t end well…for those of us who were left behind, anyway. Lisa, however, did not fear death. She was afraid of the process, especially the pain, but not of death itself. ‘I get to see Jesus’, she’d say.

Lisa knew I wouldn’t say no. How could I? I loved her like a sister and there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. And she knew it. That’s how we were. Not sisters by blood, but in every other way, we were sisters. She was trying to take care of me…for after she was gone. She loved me unconditionally. That’s how she was. With a servant’s heart…she put our needs before her own.

As her illness progressed, we spent hours laying on her bed sharing our innermost thoughts, joys, and fears. Sometimes we just laid there in companionable silence, holding hands. And praying.

I first met Lisa at church. I was new to the community; I knew no one. And she was returning after a failed marriage. We were drawn to each other by some unseen force. And I will forever be grateful.

I never met anyone who didn’t like Lisa. Well, maybe her ex-husband, but that’s to be expected. Certainly no one else.

We did a lot together…I remember driving from greenhouse to greenhouse every spring, looking for new and different perennials to plant. We always came home with different flowers, or at least different colors of the same species, promising to share when our ‘babies’ grew big enough. Lisa would lovingly plant each one, water it, and say ‘Grow, baby…grow.’

And the shopping trips! She got me hooked on resale store shopping. ‘The thrill of the hunt,’ she called it. We could, and did, spend all day going from one store to another searching for treasures, and treating ourselves to lunch somewhere in the middle of the day. And the bargains we found! Every time! We’d get back to her house and unload her purchases, lugging them in and piling them on the couch. She’d stand back and declare ‘I ought to be shot!’ And we’d get the giggles…such great memories!

So when she asked me to attend an oil painting class with her, I said yes. Somewhere, deep down, I knew she wasn’t interested in learning how to paint; she was taking care of me.

Thank you, Sister Lisa!  You are not forgotten.

  1. If you look in my dictionary under the word Friendship, you will see the name Lisa. She embodied all the best qualities of that word. We who were loved by her, still feel her love eventho she has left us in body. I still feel her love and I know I will till the moment I see her again in Heaven. Oh Happy Day.

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