Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RIP My Dear Sunny

I cried last night. I cried a lot.....and I was not alone. Many whom I know also cried last night. The tears I shed were a mix of tremendous sorrow and tremendous joy. I lost someone last night....NO....the world lost someone last night whose quiet presence in this universe made it a much better place.

In about 2002 I finally had the time and the desire to become more computer literate and internet savvy. I was told the best way to use the internet to the fullest was to social network.....so I found a message board for my favorite local radio station and DJ. It was great fun but when said DJ left our area....I was once again just a very tiny fish in a huge internet pond. I was lost. That was when the creator of the original message board invited me to another board he had founded which was based on politics. I was pretty leery of this, one.....because I really knew very little about politics and two....because I knew very little about politics. He talked me into trying it out and once there.....I never looked back. Why? Mainly because of a young girl I met there. Her name was Sunny. At the time.....Sunny was in her late teens or early 20's and far more politically in tune with the world than I was. She also knew her way around political message boards much better than I did and had the etiquette (what little there was) skillfully mastered. When she could see that I was flailing (which at first was often), she would quietly message me and show me how to fix whatever it was that my words had damaged or gotten me into. She was my message board guardian angel and we just seemed to hit it off from there.

Possibly what bonded us even closer was the similarities in our personalities. She was a devout Catholic as am I, and she was politically conservative and extremely pro-life. Sunny loved babies and worked tirelessly to quietly and respectfully end any and all atrocities to human life. She was one of those people that regardless of which side of the fence you were on politically or morally....you still couldn't help but like love Sunny. We had also had a similar past dealing with premature babies and pro-longed NICU stays. Like my David who had experienced such a difficult start to life, Sunny had a baby sister born in 1997 whom had also started life precariously and had spent about the same amount of time in the NICU as David. They brought Nicole home in December of 1997 but sadly lost her some months later. You could tell the way Sunny spoke of her sister that there was such a bond there even all these years later and maybe that is why we so connected. Whenever David was ill....I was sure that many prayers would be going directly from Illinois to God's ears courtesy of Sunny and her family.

Sunny in her own little way was a very funny girl. I have seen her take on some really dyed in the wool liberals and put them in their place with only a few words. She never seemed to hold a grudge though, nor did they.......which is a bit difficult in the political arena. Minutes later she would be talking to the same liberal about her photography or school or something else completely removed from politics. In all of the things in Sunny's life....you never had need to question where she stood on a subject from the removal of communion rails in the newer Catholic churches...to which political candidate she was standing behind. And she didn't just talk the talk....she acted on her beliefs and openly and actively supported what she believed in .

After the political boards became way too political for me, I took a hiatus from the computer. When I came back I joined facebook and low and behold....I found Sunny. Within a short period of time, I found myself not only friends with Sunny but also her sister and her parents. It was easy to see where Sunny got both her inner and outer beauty as well as her kind heart and strong stance both morally and spiritually. They are truly a lovely family and they loved their Sunny!

In recent years Sunny started having heart problems. As I recall it started with having trouble breathing and I know that she was a bit miffed from time to time as she had to change her diet and change her lifestyle quite a bit. I noticed in her posting that at times you could see a sadness as she was making frequent trips to doctors offices and ER's. I finally messaged her mother and asked what the "real" situation was. (Sunny was not big on complaining.) Here is part of what her mother told me:

"She doesn't like to talk about it. She has Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension (PVOD). She will need to have a heart/lung transplant. She is one of 200 people in the world who have this condition. Because it is so rare there hasn't been any research on this disease. No one knows how she got it or what to do for it. There are other types of Pulmonary Hypertension which aren't so rare and there are therapies for those but not for PVOD. She doesn't get out much, and she gets out of breath easy. So much of the time she sits in the "Lazy Boy" with her feet up and surfs the net and is bored."

I was shocked! On top of this....Sunny's insurance dropped her and then they had to find insurance that would accept her and then she had to wait to be treated because of her pre-existing condition.  Before she could ever even see a transplant doctor or get on a transplant waiting list all of this had to be in place. Then....it would likely be five years before she was eligible for a match. Sunny and her family all knew that the prognosis was not a good one and the outcome could be dire...but they refused to give into fear and they trudged ahead.

Sunny continued to spend her days in the Lazy Boy working on her laptop, visiting with friends on facebook and her other favorite sites, watching her beloved dogs Coco and Ali and taking pictures out her window.

Sunny's pictures were wonderful. It was as if she was not just taking a photo but somehow capturing the essence of what she was seeing. It also seemed that the furry creatures (often squirrels) who would reside outside her window knew that she needed some entertaining and they would almost always strike a pose for the cutest pictures I have ever seen. Whether she was using her lens to capture a beautiful Cathedral, her wonderful family or the animals in nature who seemed to call her friend.....her photography was captivating.

While facebook seems to be the common ground for people to vent and whine (I should know...I do it enough myself), seldom did you ever see Sunny complain. The few times when she did mention her health....you knew things might be taking a turn for the worse and when this last week she talked openly about how badly she was feeling....I couldn't help but wonder what this meant for her overall health. After I learned she was in the ER and then later admitted....I had a horrid feeling. I prayed with all my heart and yet I knew that her body had been through so much. How much more could it take?

When I heard she was gone.....I cried...and cried...and cried. Someone asked....how many tears is enough to ease the pain? I obviously haven't gotten there yet. I couldn't help though....to feel a bit joyous for her too. Sunny loved God above all else and I know she dashed into His arms with a smile on her face the moment of her death. He father posted that she was now with her little sister and.....I cried some more. It was true....that little sister that she so loved, I am sure got many hugs and kisses last night. I cried not only for the fact that I will never get to see a new Sunny photo or see a Sunny post about something that meant a lot to her or getting a Sunny message that said she would be praying for me, but I cried mostly....for her family. They lost someone so special and no parent should outlive their child.

Sunny was one of those rare people that God only graces this earth with ever so often. She was fragile and strong, gentle and tough, and she left an indelible mark on every life she touched. And she touched many. She made me want to be a better person and emulate the good that I saw in someone so young. She made me smile so often and she showed me how to speak like a lamb and be heard like a lion.

My dear Sunny was not only a wonderful friend but she was also a fan of my blog and when she felt like it she would send me little notes on blogs she liked. So today Sunny....this blog is for you. It is for all your kindness, generosity of spirit and determination. It is for taking the time to help an internet confused lady not trip over her words, for praying my son out of the ICU several times and most of all...for being the sweet and wonderful friend you are. God definitely picked the finest from His garden last night and like The Little Flower St. Therese that you always reminded me of.....you will forever bloom in our hearts. RIP my dear Sunny!


Anonymous said...

You know Sunny is making Heaven a brighter place.

Steve J.

Roy said...

What a beautiful tribute Lisa. She is looking down, nodding her head in approval. God speed Sunny.

DonnaN said...

What a wonderful heart felt tribute to Sunny. I did not know her, but felt as if I did after reading your blog! Rest in Peace Sunny

Susan H said...

This was very moving. It made me wish I had known her. I will be praying for her family, whom I am sure are wonderful people. You are a great friend for writing this eulogy. Thank you for sharing about Sunny. I am confident she is in Heaven, with her sister.

Margarita said...

My thoughts and prayers to Sunny, her family and friends. What a beautiful eulogy, thank you so much for sharing.


Lisa said...

I knew Sunny from her love of Food Network. She was a wonderful and beautiful soul. May she rest in peace and God's love.

Nancy said...

For those who read this and might know of someone who has a this disease or similar, my husband passed away of this. We found out too late that the "University of South Florida" in Tampa, FL is doing research in this area. Please tell them to contact them. It may save their life.

Cecilia said...

That was beautifully written. I was good friends with her through out high school. In reading the part where you talk about her views on politics: I am a very liberal person, Sunny and I could not be more distant in our beliefs. However, she never made me feel as if I was any less for it when we discussed those things. We found other things to talk about as well, to relate over. She was very diplomatic, and I always respected that of her.

Cindy said...

Dear Lisa:

This comes with heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your dear friend, Sunny, and also goes out to my high school friend (Sunny's Mother). Your words were incredibly touching and they made me cry for your loss.

My best friend and I have known each other for over 51 years and if anything ever happened to her (she's like a Sister to me), I would be absolutely devastated!!! :-(

May the "sweet" memories you hold close to your heart help you through the grieving process. Sunny has left you with memories you'll be able to hold on to and cherish for the rest of your life.

God bless you for being such a wonderful and loving friend to Sunny and her family. May Sunny rest in peace forever and may perpetual light shine upon her always.

God has welcomed another "Angel" into his Heavenly Kingdom.

Thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute to your friend, Sunny. I can guarantee you that she will be watching over you forever.

May God help you during this difficult time in your life and heal your broken heart.



Joe92410 said...

Very nice Lisa. I am so proud to have known sunny...ETH as I called her. The same goes for you

Joe Davis AKA Dogman

Roxanne said...

I tried to post a comment yesterday, I just found out about Sunny's passing and someone included your blog post! I was struck by the fact that you could have been writing about how I got to know her! The big difference is and one that I was always regret is I didn't get a chance to reconnect with her when I stopped all the political boards, I was mod for her on her catholic chat board but I haven't been active on there for awhile either. But you wrote such beautiful words to desecribe such a great person and thank you for that. Even with a few years between my last contact with her when I found out I cried, and reading your blog I cried some more.