“Why does the sun go on shining?”
Be forewarned, this week’s column is going to be very personal.
In the words of Skeeter Davis, a one hit wonder from the 60s: “Why does the sun go on shining?”
It’s something we wonder when we lose someone very dear.
Two weeks ago I lost my best friend of 50 years, my soul sister. For me, the world is a little dimmer, though I think the heavenly side of things shines a little brighter.
Sunny Redd was aptly named. Sunny was not her given name, but it is the one she went by her adult life. I always thought she gave it to herself, but I’m not sure. Whatever, it suited her perfectly.
I first met Sunny in the fall of 1972 when we came to interview for a job here on the ranch at La Sal. We bonded immediately.
She had just lost her best friend and was in the market for a new one. In fact, we came to La Sal for my husband to fill the position left by the departure of her friend’s husband.
That was the beginning of our half century relationship. She did stay friends over the years with her departed friend, mostly by long distance.
We did a lot of things together, mostly work. If you knew Sunny, she was always working. But I learned a lot from her. The most important was to love unconditionally.
Family member and friends will not always do the things that we would wish, but we love them still as we are loved when we do things others don’t like.
The other thing I learned was to express that love to them. In the last few years, whenever we parted, in person or on the phone, Sunny always said “I love you” and I would express my love for her.
My other dear friends do the same. It’s an important thing to do.
I never heard Sunny complain and in the last dozen years she had much for which she could. A dozen years ago, she woke up one morning totally paralyzed. The culprit, Guion Barrett syndrome.
She fought valiantly to overcome its effects on her body until she was fully mobile again. But, still, the disease continued to ravage her body. It slowly crept up from her feet to her torso.
Over the last several years she had no feeling in her hands and feet. Her comment always was that at least she was not in pain. By the time she passed, this disease had her numb from her waist down. Still, she never complained.
Earlier this year Sunny fell and broke her hip. Again, she worked diligently to fight her way back and heal. Again, never complaining.
Sunny was always taking people into her home who might be experiencing a downturn in their lives. She gave them a job and befriended them until they could get back on their feet and move on with their lives. She was known to lend folks money in times of need, with never the expectation of seeing it repaid. Sometimes she was pleasantly surprised when they did.
I shall always admire her sure testimony of her Savior. She did not doubt.
When I get to missing her, I think of how she is now with Him and she is no longer in pain or subject to the cares and worries of this world. Her mortal remains may be resting in peace, but she is up there somewhere spreading sunshine and love.
I shall ever love her and miss her until I can hopefully join her. This world will be a little dimmer for me but I shall always cherish the love we shared and the lessons learned from her.
I know families are forever, but I believe so are those cherished relationships with soul mates. Adieu for now dearest friend.