was my friend when I was young. My family moved into the College Court neighborhood where her family lived when I was in the second grade. We went to the same schools from elementary through high school. We choose the same career, nursing.
Many years after we first met, as teenagers we took note of each other's older brothers. My brother Joey and her brother Phil. She didn't marry my brother. After high school Joey went into the Navy and Cheryl went off to college to study nursing. But I married hers. So you see she was not only a friend of long standing but my beloved sister-in-law.
She was funny, fun and adventurous. Her smile lit up a room. Her laugh, infectious. Her brothers called her "Sam" because she was so down to earth; "one of the boys" in the most complimentary way brothers can think of their baby sister.
Like all of us she had her moments but fought through them and came out the other side stronger. She had no children of her own, but promised to take care of mine should anything happen to me during their formative years. She was a Army nurse, a Veteran with duty in and out of the country and when I was a young wife, mother and knee deep in diapers I thought her life was far more glamorous. She was brave. Far braver than I could see myself being. When her heart began to fail when she was in her forties, she soldiered on. And when a heart transplant was the only way she could continue, she agreed to have the surgery in 1995. The heart she received was from a young woman who was brain dead due to an auto accident. What a gift to have received. One that made it possible for Cheryl to remain in our lives far longer than what was the normal expected life span of those who receive organ transplants. Her longivity I attribute in large part to her fortitude.
It is hard to write about someone you love and have lost without seeming to be eliciting sympathy; for that is not what I am doing and would rather not have comments made to this blog about it. I have cried enough and I am working through it.
I prefer to use my blog for the lighter moments in life and reports about stuff that makes me happy.
To honor Cheryl and her donated heart, in closing, all I want to say is; if you are ever in that place where a decision has to be made about donating your organs or those of a loved one, please consider doing so. I know for sure if it were not for that unselfish gift made by a grieving family all those years ago, I would have been in the place I am now many many years ago. The additional years Cheryl gained was a blessing for all who loved her.