Saturday, December 03, 2005

Farewell Sara - My Necktie Angel!

It was a great privilege for me to sing at the memorial service for Sara Zaluga this morning. She was a precious friend to me. We attend the same church where I sing in the choir and she served as a volunteer.

About a year ago I was standing behind her in McDonld's. I did not recognize her at first, but she turned around and recognized me and we began to chat. She noticed that my bag was made from neckties and I told her that I had made it myself. "Oh, Laura," she exclaimed, "I just gave away a HUGE bag of neckties to charity THIS MORNING. The truck came by the house and picked everying up. Can you believe it? My husband has been dead for ten years and I've finally gotten rid of his ties!"

Well I can't tell you how many times I have heard this. Just about everyone I know will describe to me how they have "gotten rid of" piles and piles of delicious ties.

I went on to ask Sara how she was, and she told me that she had been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was in treatment. (This explains why I didn't recognize her at first.) Well my face must have given me away. She said "Oh, I know, it seems like a death sentence, but I'm going to fight it, Laura." I sypathized with her and tried to encourage her. I can't remember what I said exactly. (My brother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several years ago and he was dead in about three weeks. I KNOW how devastating this is - even though I didn't admit it.) After a while, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

The next day I got a call from Kelli in the Music Office at church. "Laura, the necktie angel has dropped off a package for you."

Can you imagine, that Sara, undergoing cancer treatment - AND suffering with Multiple Sclerosis - went down to the giant warehouse, where the donations for this charity were being held - looked through everything - and looked - and searched - until she actually FOUND that bag of ties and then dropped it off at church for me? This was humbling - believe me. What a kind and thoughtful thing to do. But that was Sara. An angel for sure.

About a month ago I was visiting her at home. The cancer was winning. She had asked me to sing at her service and we were talking about some music choices. It occurred to me that it is a wonderful thing to KNOW that you are at the end of your life and to spend each day carefully. Her only complaint was how difficult it was to swallow all of her medications. She had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas and was hoping to "make it" to Illinois for Thankgiving. (She didn't.) She spoke of her daughters and her friends. She wanted to know what I thought heaven would be like.

Well, now she knows.

Farewell, Sara.


Marsha said...

L, I think you were her angel, too. It sounds like a difficult honor to sing at a friend's funeral, but I'm sure you were beautiful. Blessings - M

Anonymous said...

What an amazing person. I am sure it meant so much to have you sing for her and what a special gift to give someone who seems to have given so much to others.

Anonymous said...

laura, this really hits close to home. a friend and coworker of mine just passed away on friday to pancreatic cancer. he was diagnosed with it earlier this year in march. we all knew the chances of getting though this type of cancer was really slim, but it still came as a sudden shock to hear that he had passed away. i read this blog of yours a while back, but didn't comment. i feel as though i should now because it's made me not feel so alone. thanks for sharing.