Last week a friend I’ve known since junior high died. She spent the last five years of her life fighting colorectal cancer.
I first met Lynne at Stonybrook Junior High. Lynne was a fierce competitor - small but mighty. She was our point guard and basically ran circles around everyone. (She appropriately also ran cross country.) I joked that half of our team’s points were from her stealing the ball from the other team and dribbling down the court for a layup. She laughed about practicing lobbing the ball to me for hours on end. That year our team had a 19-0 record and won the Marion County Championships.
|The tall and short of Stonybrook Junior High.|
I only played one year with her at Stonybrook and then we continued as teammates at Warren Central High School. We had successful teams in high school, and both had good experiences playing basketball in college. But after all my years of playing basketball, this one year at Stonybrook brought my only team championship. And we were undefeated.
|Loved those Warren Warrior sweaters!|
|Graduation day at the Indiana State Fairgrounds|
After high school graduation, we went our different ways, as happens. I saw her around town now and then. I ran into her around Christmastime right before she moved to England for work. It was while she was in England that she was first diagnosed.
Fast forward to last fall when I was involved with planning my high school reunion. She attended the school tour and, while we all knew she was seriously ill, you never would have guessed. She was a bit thinner, but was still her usual smiling, positive self.
|30-year reunion - basketball and volleyball teammates|
This past spring a group of Warren girls and parents had a wonderful gathering. It's something we talked about doing for a while (you know how that goes). We decided to pull the trigger and I am so thankful we did. It was such a fun afternoon and it was like we were back in high school. We were so impressed with the size of Krista's shower we all fit for a shower selfie.
As time passes I am reminded more often than I’d like that life is short. And unpredictable. Two weeks before she passed, Lynn’s mom posted an update on her Caring Bridge site that she was failing. They gave her a few weeks to several months. Another high school friend and I visited her a few days later. Despite the seriousness of the occasion, Lynne was still positive and even cracked some one-liners. At her lowest moment, she was making us laugh. And when my friend leaned in to hug her once more, Lynne patted her back and said, “It’s ok. It’s ok. He’s with me.”
I am sad that my friend is gone from this earth. If there can be any joy at all, it is that she is only gone from this earth. She is now with her Savior, running circles around Him. Cancer took a lot of things from her and her friends and family still on earth. Cancer could not take her spirit. Lynne is still undefeated.