Tonight I will be out playing Bunco with the girls. It will be the first time that I went after my neighbor Sharon passed away. I will be playing with her friends. I really haven’t wanted to play the last several months without her, but haven’t been able to anyway.
If you are not familiar with Bunco, it is a dice game that is totally based on luck. The only challenging thing about it is keeping score after a drink or two. I was first invited to Bunco when Sharon was hosting it at her house and needed an extra player. That first night I won big time. Beginner’s luck they said. Month after month, Sharon called me to tell me that they needed a sub. Eventually, I was put on the permanent player list. Sharon always insisted on being the driver. She liked to smoke a cigarette on the way to calm her nerves. She rarely, if ever, had a drink. She liked to pick everyone else up. One time we ended up having more people than room in her car, but she squeezed everyone in.
I have finally reached the point of accepting that she is gone. I don’t think that she is going to drive by and wave. I don’t think she is going to come out of her house after a long winter and visit. I don’t think she is going to come over to borrow an egg and send back a batch of cookies. She is gone.
Sharon was an extreme extrovert. She loved people. She used to work at a local gas station and grew up in the area, so everyone knew her. After giving people directions to my house, several people asked me why I didn’t tell them that I lived next to Sharon. So I started telling people that I lived next to Sharon. She had 1,000 people come to her funeral.
Sharon loved to entertain people by telling stories. My favorite story was about a bear that visited her up north. Sharon and her family owned a lot up north that they put a couple of campers on. She told me that one day a bear visited them while they were cooking out. Later that night, Sharon was having an intimate evening with her husband. The next morning her little boy asked her if the bear came back. He said that he heard her screaming like she was scared and the camper was rocking like the bear was trying to get in. I never laughed so hard.
Sharon had the world’s biggest heart. Her husband had children from a previous marriage. Although she treated his children as if they were her own, she was never able to have children. They decided to provide foster care with the intentions of adopting. Their first two foster children were abused by their previous adoptive foster parents. They were in the process of adopting these children, but it fell through and they were returned back to their previous adoptive parents. Sharon was absolutely heartbroken.
A couple of years later, Sharon became the foster parent of a baby that she later adopted. She eventually adopted his younger sister when she was 2. The second child was more of a challenge because she was in foster care for the first two years of her life. She decided to make it an open adoption. The birth mother was on drugs and had all of her children taken away right after birth. She just wasn’t mother material. But Sharon kept her land line so the birth mother could call her anytime day or night. She was very loving and not at all judgmental. She even loved my children like they were her own.
Sharon always called me at work if a strange vehicle was in my yard. She was always keeping an eye on the neighborhood.
The last couple of times that I saw Sharon, she was in bad health. She had a couple of very serious health conditions. Her husband quit his job to become self-employed and they didn’t have health insurance. Previously, her husband was on the road a lot. Sharon was afraid to be home alone without her husband. At night, she slept with every light on in the house. Once in the middle of the night, there was a motorist that broke down near us. She went to Sharon’s house for help because all of the lights were on. Sharon was terrified when her doorbell rang in the middle of the night. So her husband decided to start his own business to be home more.
The last couple of months, Sharon complained about not feeling well. She said that after the kids left for school, she would go back to bed until the afternoon. She couldn’t afford to get the treatment she needed but always told me that she would go to the doctor soon. Then she came down with a simple case of pneumonia. She very unexpectedly died at the age of 45 leaving behind two grade school aged children.
So tonight I will be hanging out with her friends. I wish I didn’t have to go without her.