We all have that one person who we say will be our friend for life, right? Sonia is my “friend for life”. We met in the third grade. Sonia was one in a million. She was friends with everyone. Marrying a man in the military brought her all around the country, but we always kept in close contact by talking on the phone (yes, this was back when people still talked on the phone) and sending each other birthday and Christmas presents.
Oh and because she didn’t let it define her, I left out a little something…Sonia was born with Cystic Fibrosis. If you are unfamiliar with Cystic Fibrosis, here is a short description from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation page:
What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
• clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
• obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
Sonia had many inpatient hospital stays for treatment, as well as doing many treatments daily her whole life. This was part of her life and she was so good about doing it. She was also a member of CF groups online where she did what she could to try to help others suffering with this horrible disease.
With all of this, she still found time to volunteer with animal shelters. Sonia was a big dog lover and would spend a lot of time walking dogs that didn’t have any family to love them. You can almost see how big her heart was, can’t you?
In 2010, my world came crashing down. Sonia had an infection and was not doing well. A group of her closest friends made the trip to see her in Texas, where she was living at that time. We got the call on the way there that Sonia had passed away. We were so lucky to have each other right then and there, we needed each other. This was some of the hardest news we’ve ever had to swallow. What we didn’t know is how much closer this trip would make us. We laughed, we cried, and there were several times we knew Sonia was there with us.
To honor Sonia, we started an annual walk in her memory. The money raised goes to Cystic Fibrosis to help those who need it for medicine (CF medicine is very expensive), going to college and so much more.
So Sonia is my friend for life. She may no longer be physically with us, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Life really is too short, so hug your friends and let them know how much they mean to you!