With the turn of recent events, Debbie has been on my mind a lot lately. Debbie and I grew up one door down from each other. She had an older sister who was my sister's best friend and she was mine. She was a year younger than me, but that was never an issue. I don't think I loved any body as much as my own sister like I loved Deb. Nobody could annoy me as much as her either! But then again, nobody could talk to me when I needed it like her. When we were little she wasn't really girly like me. I wanted to play Barbies all the time. Debbie wanted to play cowboys. She always wanted to be Chuck Connors. We would go our separate ways for a while and then we would be best friends again. We attended a private Christian high school together for a year. She made it easier for me to be there until I was able to make my own friends. She had her own set of friends and I had mine and we drifted apart, but we would always manage to get back together at some point.
There are some really big memories I have of her. One was the arguments we would have. Although our families went to church on a regular basis, we were both determined that our individual churches were the right ones and it was our duty to convert the other to the right church. Oh how we would argue over trivial stuff that seemed crucial at the time. She'd run home and get ammunition (scriptures) from her mom and I would run inside and get some from my Mom and we'd be back out front trying to convert each other with our new ammo! As we grew up we realized we had wasted a whole lot of time arguing over religion when we were both Christians and that's all that mattered. I don't think I ever knew anybody so secure in their faith as her. She was an inspiration to so many people and I didn't realize it until much later.
Another memory I have on her was on my wedding day. I had read in a book about this woman who had balloons all over her reception hall when she got married. I had never seen that done and I wanted it! Debbie was game and off we headed for a store to get as many balloons as we could. I didn't feel like driving, but she was up to it. We took her little station wagon, I can't remember what kind it was, but it was small! We filled that sucker up with soooooo many helium balloons that we could barely see around them and drove them to the reception. Then came the task of getting all of those balloons out of her car and into the building. What fun that was! She never complained and was a real trooper. I'm glad she was one of my bridesmaids too.
After I got married and she didn't, we kind of went our separate ways again. I would talk to her on the phone from time to time, but she wasn't in the best of health. I don't know if we ever really knew what was wrong with her, but she would end up in the hospital and then slowly recover. She had asthma and it was so hard for her to breath sometimes - her inhaler was her constant companion. When I had my first baby, she wanted to do something for us. I didn't want her to bother. I was tired and just didn't feel like dealing with company. She wouldn't hear of it. She went out, got dinner for us, brought it to the house, brought a gift for the baby and quickly left. It was one of the best gifts we received. When our second baby was born, we just didn't have much money. She surprised us BIG TIME! She worked at a local drugstore and had been buying packs of diapers for months. By the time the baby was born she had collected at the very least 20 to 25 packs of diapers. We didn't have to buy one diaper for the baby for the first few months of his life! She was always good to the kids too. She spoiled her own niece and nephews as well as all her friends children. I guess she knew she would never have children of her own and enjoyed her friends babies as a result.
Deb continued to get sick and would end up in the hospital more often. We would go see her on occasion, but it seemed like we were at different points in our lives and I didn't see her as often as I should have. I hate to say it, but her hospital visits had almost become routine and she would always shake whatever had her sick and be back to work in no time. Her birthday came and went and I didn't call her or send a card. I knew I would get a chance so I just didn't worry about it. I didn't get the chance. Debbie died the next month. I did manage to see her one last time in the hospital before she passed away, but she was in a coma by then. I told her I loved her and tried to share all the great memories she had given me, but it was just too hard.
When we went to the hospital that final time, there were people there I had never met. They were her coworkers or fellow church members. Some were people she had brought to God. At her funeral were even more people than I even realized she knew. She had touched her coworkers, her doctors and her customers and they were there to pay respect. She knew she was going to die and had arranged her funeral. She didn't want it to be about her at all. She asked that it be an attempt to reach out to those she wasn't able to reach and hopefully bring them to Christ. Once again, Deb was selfless.
Now, you might be asking, what has this got to do with current events? Debbie LOVED Jerry Falwell. She spoke of him so often and admired his work. The past few days I have been thinking about her and how happy she must be that he is finally there with her. And knowing Deb, I know she is following him, thrilled that she finally got to meet him and talking his ear off!