Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Make Today the Best Day of Your Life

I do not like funerals. Really, I can't think of much I like less than I like funerals. Yet, too often lately, I have found myself sitting in a church, saying goodbye to someone.

Today, I went Lexi's basketball coach's funeral. Lexi went too. I told her it was what a good friend does (her coach has two daughters Lexi's age, they all played on a traveling team together this year). As expected, it was a super sad funeral. I started crying even before the service started. I was sitting in the pew, watching Lexi's friends Sage and Sierra, and wondering how they will get through the rest of their lives without their mom. Who will teach them to shave their legs? Who will comfort them when their hearts are broken? Who will help plan their weddings? These are all jobs mom does best.

Lexi's coach, Bobbi, fought a good fight. She was diagnosed with lukemia in 2006. We met her last fall, and had no idea she was sick. She was a great coach, loved the girls and loved basketball. She always told Lexi to "be mean" under the basket, and urged her to make herself big and call for the ball.

In March, the team and parents went out for pizza between games. Bobbi told me her back was hurting, she thought she had a slipped disc and was going in for an MRI the next day. The next thing I heard was that she was at the Mayo Clinic, and that her cancer had returned. Less than a month later, the girls played another tournament. Bobbi was there, coaching and cheering just like always. I thought she looked like she'd lost weight, but when I visited with her, she seemed ok. She even offered to drive Lexi to basketball camp this summer, since she was on disability anyway. She had big plans to spend the summer driving her kids to all kinds of activities.

I have followed her Caring Bridge website ever since I learned Bobbi was sick. Last week I was shocked to read that she was dying, not expected to make it through the night in fact. It hit me like a ton of bricks, as did the next morning's entry..Bobbi had died.

It doesn't make sense, and it probably never will, why does God call some people home at such a young age? Bobbi was only 38. At the end of the funeral, one of her brothers in law commented on behalf of the family. What he said turned my tears of sadness into tears of joy. He said Bobbi wouldn't want us sitting around being sad..in fact, he said, she would tell us to "get over it". His closing remark was "Keep smiling...or else Bobbi will kick your butt."

Lexi and I left the church still feeling sad, but also feeling lucky to have met Bobbi. She touched our lives, and Lexi has already decided to dedicate her next basketball season to Bobbi. Her words "be mean" will no doubt help her on the court even more than ever before.

As I close, I ask that you make today the very best day of your life. Enjoy everything. Be nice to people. And hug your kids. That's what Bobbi would want.

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