Saturday, October 04, 2008

For my Cheryl

May 12, 1978 - September 22, 2008

My heart wants to express the meaningful devastation I feel here today, but I won't for two reasons: I realize that the devastation I feel resonates within every person who is present and accounted for in this room, but more importantly, MOST importantly, it is imperative that I express my joy and gratitude for having experienced this friendship. My friendship, more like kinship, with Cheryl Wells began 17 years ago, and she has been a significant part of my life's foundation since. She is one of the significant threads that weave the fabric of my life together so beautifully. I currently live in New York City, but my love and pure fondness for Cheryl has never been hindered by the distance. As her family and my own will tell you, whether I was in town for 24hours or for five days, it was routine that I drop in at the restaurant to see Shay. I wouldn't even call to tell her I was in town and coming through because I loved to surprise her; just pop in with my goofy grin and come find her. And as soon as we'd see one another, it was proof, evidence that even through busy lives and miles of distance, those two girls from back in the day, that bond had not gone anywhere. We always shared a welcoming, familiar hug and silly laughs while catching up on current life and reminiscing about years past. Most often than not she'd have to get back to someone's order in the kitchen, though I was more than happy to keep her from getting to it. But, when we'd part company it was understood that too much time should not pass before we spoke again, and that we love one another. She'd say, "I know you're gonna pop back in here at any point, so I'll be looking for you." And even then I hated to say goodbye, see you next time, because I loved my friend so much and miss the days when we could see one another on a regular basis. 
Even through marriage, she was always Shay Shay Wells to me, the girl I met in 8th grade who I loved to sing SWV songs with; who loved to go to the Disney Store to decorate–or redecorate–her bedroom (the photo above is from her birthday at Disneyland!); whose house I could come by after school or on the weekends and stay for hours and eat and have a good ole time; who I could go to church with, whose family integrity was so similar to my own with two parents who loved Christ, providing a Godly, loving and protective foundation for their own and everyone else. I was very much at home in the Wells household and Cheryl was a sister to me. So I am trying to convince myself to make peace with the void that I will feel as the days, months and years go on. I try to find comfort in holding on to August 23, 2008, which is the last time I stood with Shay and hugged her tight and sang to the lil' one in her belly, and laughed out loud, and just got to spend what I now know were my last fleeting moments with a favorite sisterfriend. And, yes, I will hold on to the past 17 years as well, though I honestly didn't think it was expecting too much that we'd share 50 more as friends. 
To Dee Dee, I've known you for the same amount of time that I've known Shay, and I love you and cherish the countless moments that the three of us spent together. To Mrs. Wells, I don't think I am able to fully express my highest regard and esteem for you, so for now, I will only say that I love you. And to Robert and the rest of your family I express my love and pray your peace and joy moving forward.
Until we meet again…

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