I went to Angela's & Joe's wedding this Spring and shared a table with Pat, Kim, Sharon, and her girls. Sharon had just finished blood transfusion therapy and seemed to be responding favorably. As usual, she was damned funny and made sharp observations about nearby tables. Alcohol flowed freely. While she was on a strict diet, she remained upbeat and extremely happy. She was gravely ill, but had been invited. She hadn't been forgotten.
Sharon's disease, Lupus, never really went into remission. By Summer, it had returned with a fury and doctors gave her a couple of weeks. Most of you know how stubborn Sharon could be.
I'll be honest, Sharon and I had our conflicts. She was trying to survive, which I could relate to. The retail wage was harsh. When choices were limited, decisions were often wrong. I've bent rules, fixed things, and looked the other way. Some of the crap Sharon did was damaging to the store, however. This was beyond shadowy ethics, some behavior was off the scale. More than anyone, I was the one who chased her out the door.
To her credit, there were no hard feelings. She didn't slink off or become a stranger from Camp Bowie. She contnued to hang out at the store, party with coworkers, even after she found better employment. Sharon remained "family."
Late October, she phoned me at work, wanting to know if I knew how to make popcorn balls. I told her I had ... once ... over twenty years ago when I was church youth director (imagine that). I warned her this was scalding hot work, since you had to pour boiling sugar syrup over popcorn, then form into balls with your hands. Sharon laughed and said Tom Thumb seemed an easier alternative. She invited me to her Halloween party, "You betta get ya ass here!"
I said I'd try.
Actually, I would be away on vacation, and I suddenly felt guilty about our dissimilar futures. Me and my plans, Sharon with a countdown.
This was the last time I ever talked with Sharon.
Sharon died peacefully in her sleep last week.
She was 34.
Pat went to the funeral service which was attended by an estranged family who didn't know her, and distanced themselves from her choices.. Family planned to clad her in a dress and place a wig on her head. Friends were appalled and protested strongly. I haven't heard what was decided upon.
Sharon, while hating the costume, would have approved of the controversy. She always loved arguments, uttering statements which would shock dozing coworkers, and keeping people laughing. I'd like to imagine she's venting her opinions to God at this moment. Many remember the times some customer would enter, inquire about a country tune, and we'd shepherd them to Sharon. Their expression was usually puzzled and priceless.
Thank all of you for praying for her this past summer and keeping her in your thoughts. Pat asked me drop all of you a note. Pat can fill you in on more details, funnier stories. Pat is always at 6393 by late afternoon. Few things are ever certain in this world. One thing is certain, however. Sharon's passing leaves our world a lot less interesting.
Talk to you later,