There is a hole in my heart. A dear friend who was loads of fun and always made me laugh – a lot!
She and her older sister where inseparable. They were so close I might have thought they did not need anyone else.
When tragedy struck in my life and I lost my mother with no warning of any kind, LaWana stepped right up! She was always ready with a smile and a hug – For me AND all of my children. She lived through my toughest pregnancy with me – always offering sympathy and faith. Then immediately took my babe as her own grandchild.
LaWana would bring treat bags full of goodies for all the kids EVERY holiday. She had no biological grandchildren but she won the hearts of every child she met. She had the knack of making people feel special.
If I had to pick one word to describe her it would be – miracle. She beat a horrible run in with breast cancer with her sister at her side. She was part of a clinical trial – most people did not survive it. LaWana did. It was a miracle. She had other medical trials and cancer scares – again – miracle. I remember her telling me about a condition with her arm that miraculously went away. Doctors had never heard of it going away.
Even her pup, Boomer was a miracle. Boomer was sick and given only a couple weeks to live. But Boomer was LaWana’s dog – miracle for sure. Boomer lived over a year!
Sitting next to LaWana I am thinking it was June. She told me that she had cancer again. My first thought was she will be another miracle. This time the miracle was realizing someone so amazing had loved me.
Even after the diagnosis, LaWana and her amazingly loving husband invited our big family over for pizza. Not once but twice! Her husband would call to invite us and I would ask “are you sure? There are so many of us.” He would quickly say “It is what she wants” and he always gave her what she wanted.
The cancer took her quickly. I would be gone two days and be shocked by the difference when I would return. I was blessed to sit with her for a couple of mornings because she couldn’t be left alone. At first I was afraid because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to do too much for her and take away what independence she had but I also didn’t want to miss doing something important for her.
I loved LaWana. I really, truly did. But being with her and her wonderful family those last months changed the capacity that my heart has to love. I am a different person because of LaWana. Getting to know her husband has been very dear to me. He is still in my thoughts and prayers constantly but I don’t do a very good job of showing it. Partly because he is in and out of town a lot and I really hate to burden him but even more so because we have been so sick lately.
Every time I walk down the ice cream aisle I remember that I want to get some butter pecan ice cream to take over to his house.
Seeing his smile when he looked at his beautiful wife warmed my heart and has left a permanent impression in my mind. I long for him to smile like that again. Hearing LaWana say he is the best caretaker and anticipated her every need displays love in a new way for me.
Often people worry that a loved one will be forgotten. Not LaWana. My children and I still talk about her all the time. We think of her every time we hear “You Are My Sunshine” because my children were asked to sing it at the funeral. I even bought a Scentsy warmer for my kitchen that says “You Are My Sunshine”.
I think about her everyday when I go in my closet and see some of her clothes that her husband freely gave to me. I think of her every time we plan a girls night out, a luncheon or any other gathering.
My life was so richly blessed by this one miraculous woman. I am sure when she passed through the veil my mother was there to greet her (along with millions of other people) and thank her for being like a grandma to us. I have learned about love, family, and faith. I have grown closer to her sisters, met her brother, nieces and nephews and her sister-in-law and her daughter. I don’t think I ever truly thanked them for letting me be part of their lives. It is such an honor and a privilege. I love you I LaWana! Forever and ever!