Last Friday, the first of October, I spent a most wonderful day with Hope. Hope is my sixteen year old friend from church. I cannot describe the beauty of this young girl for she is beautiful both inside and outside. She stands about 5'3” with dark shoulder length hair, light olive skin, warm hazel eyes. For some mysterious reason I have been chosen to be her “best friend” which is a great honor to me. Friday was a gorgeous Fall day. The sky brilliant – the sun bright - a warm breeze ushered us on our way as we left Hope's house and headed off to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for lunch at Red Robin. She had a “big whopper” of a hamburger, and I broke the rules and gorged on french fries. Oh my, those forbidden fries tasted so good. Now Hope is a talker, and so am I, we lingered over an hour talking a mile a minute. I have to admit by the time we were ready to leave I felt sixteen again. As we were ready to leave the waitress asked Hope, “Is this your grandmother?” She answered, “No,” this is my best friend – a higher compliment I will never receive.

My precious little friend and I found our way to downtown Coeur d'Alene and the famous Hagadone Hotel that sits on beautiful Coeur d'Alene Lake. Like teenagers we cruised the tourist stores in the hotel. Hope holding on to my hand nearly every step of the way. When she wasn't holding my hand she was holding on to my arm. We decided we couldn't afford the gift shops so hand in hand off we went to see what main street offered. We stepped into a small  covered mall and right before our very eyes was this scrumptious little Candy store that had jars and jars of candy – way too much temptation! Once again I broke the rules. But. My little sack of candy was sugar free. With candy sacks in hand we strolled main street talking, eating, laughing and investigating every store both sides of the street.

We ended this wonderful day walking the boardwalk that sits on the lake and circles the hotel. It is such a magical place – the scenery is out of this world – the mountains – the sea gulls – the boats. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day as we talked of Hope's dreams for her future. I can't count the times that Hope told me how much she loves me and how much I mean to her. I was able to reciprocate her feelings and told her how grateful I am that God has sent her into my life. We spent six hours together and not once did I feel my years or think of my illness. Blessings often come in small ways and large packages. The blessing of this day will always be in my heart. There will be many more precious experiences with Hope – after all we are best friends.

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  • Thank you Duane. I have had a rough summer and literally needed hope - I didn't expect it to come in the form of a sweet sixteen year old named Hope. But life is wonderful in the respect that often our needs are met in a new and exciting way. I always love the thought that when one door closes another opens. As an adult, I've always had young people in my life, but the years since the transplant have been focused mostly on family matters which are not always relaxing relationships. Perhaps, however, my reason for still being here is to do my best to help my own. Take care now and thanks for validating my "French Fry" spree.

  • So true Kerry. I am still not absolutely sure why Hope has such deep feelings for me.  But, we have an uncanny connection with one another - a true friendship between a young girl and a great grandmother is a rare and beautiful gift. I would have to say that my day with Hope was one of the most wonderful days I have spent since transplant 18yrs ago and I have had many many wonderful moments.  I love your sharing about your husband. My husband and I just celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary the 29 of September - this is a second marriage for both of us. We combined a family of eight children (six were teenagers and the other two in grade school). We could write a book on what "not" to do when combining a family. But we survived and our love remains strong.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us - your journey and family are very inspiring.

  • Yvonne, sometimes the kindness of strangers makes us realize how good life can be.  I really feel that my transplant journey has opened my eyes to so many things that I was too busy to see before.  Things that used to seem so important to me, just don't feel that way anymore.  I've been married for thirty years, to my husband Kevin,  I met him when we were both 17. (We are 53 today)  He has been my soulmate all that time.  He has never let me feel alone.  Our two boys have taken after their Daddy, and shower me with their love, without reservation.  I have been lucky enough to enjoy my Mom (Who died 7 years ago) my Daddy, who turned 90 in August, and my six brothers, who to this day, treat me like their special little sister.  God works in mysterious ways.  I will be eternally grateful that I have been given such a fantastic life, with people that I adore.  It is so special to be able to talk to people who have stories to tell about their journeys.  They can be so inspirational, as yours always are.  Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  • Yvonne's,

    I'm so happy that u found a friend like Hope, and share with us your day.  You are to be forgiven for breaking the french fries rule (this time only. lol )

    take care and enjoy your freind.

    Prayers and wishes to u and yours

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