For Paula, and all Our Forever Friends, This Valentine’s Day

Gentlemen, do these scenes ring a bell?

The phone rings as you sit down to eat, and your girlfriend runs out of the house like a three-alarm fire is ablaze. Maybe you open your front door and spy your wife being handed a dozen roses by another woman. Or, your daughter tells you that she would rather go to the mall with her friends in tow then go car shopping for a hot-looking convertible.

I’m sure you often scratch your head in wonderment at the thinking process of the opposite sex. And I don’t blame you one bit. Women are complex and mysterious creatures! But fear not, for I believe these words will give you much insight into a very special part of our innate compasses. Quite simply, our girlfriends matter. And the older and wiser we become, the more entrenched we get in these soulful and beautiful relationships. A week without meaningful contact with a friend? Well, that’s like having the oxygen sucked out of our lungs.

After a half-century-plus living on this earth, I can say that I’ve been blessed with so many incredible friendships. I treasure each and every one, and have always considered them to be life-long relationships. But I never, ever thought about how to define what “life-long relationships” are until I began losing some friends to the “Big C”, cancer.

So now, I must redefine friendships and find a way to embrace my forever friends who have gone beyond the physical realm. Although there have been copious tears released as I think of my friends being farther away, I can tell you that my heart feels so much comfort in making the choice to believe that they still exist somewhere. I know they’re watching over us, and doing what only girlfriends can do for our souls.

Paula Takacs is one of my forever friends, living among the stars and watching over me. I am thinking about her today because the most tender of days, Valentine’s Day, will be her 42nd birthday! So, indulge me as I celebrate her and reminisce:

Paula, I remember your last birthday on earth, your 40th, when you were showered with countless expressions of love from every person you’ve blessed with your love. I remember you telling me how completely full your heart was and I remember you saying, “THIS WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY I’VE HAD….EVER, EVER, EVER!”, despite your knowing that your health was failing rapidly. I remember looking at your frail body and hearing those words, and wishing that every single friend of ours could have been standing there with us. It was one of those take-your-breath-away moments…part of my “highlight reel” that reminds me yet again that to love and be loved is what we are ultimately striving for.

For your birthday, Paula, I’m doing a few things to honor you and make you smile. First, I launched a beautiful new website for your foundation! And guess what? I couldn’t have done it without another friend of mine, Camine Pappas, who poured her heart out in time, talent and love on this project. Another friendship honoring our forever friendship…how cool is that?

But that’s not all! We’ve opened registration for your beloved Sarcoma Stomp! I’m sure your forever friends will register in force like they always have, running their personal best or walking with their funky costumes. I’ve gotten to know some of these ladies over the last few years, and all I’ve got to say is that you sure do know how to pick ‘em! They are amazing women!

So here’s to you, Paula Takacs, my forever friend. I’m celebrating your birthday by asking every woman out there to think of a friend or a forever friend they’d like to spend some time with, or to honor, or to remember…and rejoice with them at the 2016 Sarcoma Stomp. It might be face-to-face or it might be in their hearts. But I have no doubt that, in doing so, they will feel the love of a forever friendship.

With love and friendship, today and always,
Sue

The Paula Takacs Foundation for Sarcoma Research | Charlotte, NC 28271 | (704) 516-5113