No, we were not really close friends, nor were we classmates in high school
I only know Sheila as one of the CAT officers during fourth year
We didnt even move in the same circle of friends, in fact, I was in awe of her
She always stand so tall and so proper esp in uniform during those CAT sessions
I didnt even dream we'd meet again after more than 20 years!
But we did, in a supposed to be, mini reunion with my high school batchmates during our trip to the Philippines this year
It really a mini reunion, as it was only Sheila with her daughter and Cecil with her husband; who came
In those few hours, during a short evening visit with us this February 2008
Right there...Sheila became a big part of my life.
She with her long, curly hair
She with her ready smile and tingling laugh
She who twinkled when she asked me to find a man for her
She who visibly got shocked when my husband asked if her daughter also wanted a boyfriend
Emphatically saying 'No, she's only 14!' But you see, her daughter is also as tall as her. (Malaking bulas)
You wouldnt know they arent sisters! And of course, she almost blushed when we told her that
Almost, because she gave in to laughter
It tickled her to know that she really looks good
Despite the fact that she's been struggling with cancer for a year
But you see, that sickness didnt put her down
It brought her closer to Him. It made her look at the world differently -- with more hope and more love and more laughter.
She have given herself up to the Lord from the moment she realized how difficult her condition would be. And she is open about her faith and I admire her for it.
She enjoyed life. She laughs with her heart. She talks with her eyes. She embraces with strenght. And she makes her friends smile with her quips
And oh yeah, could I ever forget, she wants to look good, our dear Sheila
She dont want to face the camera without flicking her hair here and there
Without retouching her make-up, without puckering her lips -- which brought all of us to laughter and she laugh with us, too
Of course I told her, you dont need to do anything, you already look good
And she does, Sheila looked good.
And those few hours of storytelling and reminiscing, those few hours of giggling like high school girls, those few minutes of pizza sharing, those few minutes of cola drinking, those few minutes of picture taking, and those prolonged goodbyes with loads of hugs and bussies...
Sheila made me feel good. When I should have been the one to make her feel good.
And then the next few days of exchanging text messages... I didnt think she would bother with nurturing new and a long distance friendship at that, but she did.
And she grew in my heart from then on.
We both tried to keep in touch regularly. Until she had to go back to the hospital a few months ago. Her condition worsened. From then on, her number became silent.
I could only hear about news from her from friends and batchmates. I sent prayers her way.
And last Thursday, Sheila left us.
Sheila, the tall girl with curly hair and a ready smile is gone.
But I know, she'll stay in the heart of the people she touched, like me.
Dear Sheila, you have fun, wherever you are!
Blind them with your sparkling smile, dear girl!
Throw them that tinkling laugh, you lovely woman!
Dont forget to flick your wonderful mane, you look great!
And remember, we love you.