It's been a long week here. I feel bad complaining about it though, because I saw the pain today of those that are hurting much worse than me. I kept thinking about blogging, but I just couldn't put things in words.....and today definately won't be perfect, but I feel like there are things that I want to get out, I want to remember, and I'm afraid that if I don't do it now, I won't.
My childhood friend, Erin (Sparks) Bergbower, and her husband Barry, died last Friday night. It was sudden, unexpected and a shock to everyone that knew and loved them. Today we buried them.
Erin and Jennifer Sparks were identical twins. We have been friends since kindergarten. I LOVED going to their home. Their mom, Sue, was an angel (which ironically she collected). Erin and Jennifer have an older brother and younger identical twin brothers. Their house was full, crazy and fun. As adults Erin and I didn't really revolve in the same circles. She moved to another (nearby) town and never had children. I see Jennifer all the time. I wish I had made more of an effort to get together with Erin, but as happens so often, life just goes and if we don't make an effort to do something, it doesn't get done.....that's my life-point for this story.
Anyway, I have lots of wonderful memories of times with Erin.......
**Sitting in their front yards and getting the semis to honk at us
**calling the operator and trying to get them to connect us to the White House (you would probably get arrested for that nowadays lol)
**watching Dirty Dancing for the first time
**a trip to St. Louis with the girls to the zoo
**playing volleyball at their high school graduation party
**visiting after I had Greg (and my grouchy hospital roommate - Erin was sure she could take her out lol)
**Jennifer's bachelorette party
**a trip to Terre Haute for shopping and Chinese
Today, I can hear Erin talking. I can hear her humor and see her beautiful smile. A person couldn't be around Erin and not be happy. She went out of her way to be like that and people LOVED her.
Another memory that I have, and one that seemed to haunt me today, was a sad memory. You see, another friend of ours died over 21 years ago. That funeral was the first funeral I attended alone, the first Catholic funeral I attended, the first friend that I had lost. Erin and Jennifer were there also. Their mom, Sue, played mom for us all, shepherding us through the service, taking us to the graveside, giving hugs and smiles and loving all of us. Denise's funeral was the first time that I understood that bone crushing, breath stealing grief.
Hearing about Erin's death, I just couldn't believe it. I was in shock. I told another friend that it was like the day Denise died, all over again. That's exactly how I felt. Exactly.
Today I sat in a pew with my childhood friends. I watched a mother, father, sister and brothers mourn the loss of their girl, Erin. As terrible as my grief is, I would bear it all to not see the pain on Jennifer's and Sue's faces.
One of the pictures that was included on the memory boards was of our 8th grade class....before Denise died. We were all there. Probably the last picture of us together.
As we were driving in the funeral procession, we passed a business that Jennifer's husband is employed at. The men that work there were standing along side the highway with their hard hats across their hearts......and I cried. Erin and Barry, you were loved and will be so missed. I don't know how your families, your parents and sibling, your friends will go on without you, but we must.
I long to see you again. I know that you and Denise are waiting for us.