For Kelly’s Lu and My Friend Sam

I promised I’d write about this and post this tonight for a good cause. I read about this on my sister’s blog and went to Kelli’s site and read more about this cause. You can read about it here: Kelly is trying to raise money for her friend Lu that has brain cancer. 

$10 from each sale goes to help LU - please help!


This is a subject that hits close to home for me. I know I’ve mentioned my best friend from high school, Sam, many times in my blog. Well, I lost Sam to brain cancer when we were 28 years old. I miss her so much and if my posting about this with Kelly’s link can help someone else keep their friend a little longer, I am all for it. So, go check out Kelly’s site and help out her friend Lu. 

Now I am going to talk a little more about Sam. Sam was one of a kind. She didn’t care what anyone thought of her. She and I had some wild times. When we were in high school we told each other every thing and we also fought all the time and made up. It seemed like every guy I went out with, she ended up with! I don’t know if it was her big boobs (you know teenage guys can’t resist that), her effervescent personality or the fact that she was a lot “friendlier” than I was, to put it mildly? But I always forgave her and we always picked right back up. No guy was ever worth losing my best friend over and I hate the fact that cancer took her away from me. 

When Sam and I first met it was because I had saved her butt from being beat up by two local mean girls. You can read about it here.  You have to remember that Sam was all of MAYBE 5’1”.  To give you a little more insight into her personality, the first time she ever met my husband, she threatened to kick HIS butt.  Remember my husband is almost 6’8”.  Yeah, do the math… The first time I introduced them she told him if he EVER hurt her best friend, physically, emotionally or otherwise she would hunt his “scrawny little ass down” and kick it from here to kingdom come and that he better not think for a minute that she couldn’t do it!  He believed her. 

Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May of 1986. One day out of the blue, she had a blinding headache and she never got headaches. She went to the emergency room when it got to the point she couldn’t stand it anymore.  That was when they found out she had a brain tumor. I was living in Georgia with two little ones and not a lot of money. I hated that I couldn’t just pick up and run up there and be with her. But our friend, Barb, who moved up to our home town in summer of our Jr year was there and able to help out. She spent a lot of time with her in her last few months and I almost kind of resent that. I know that sounds weird but I’m a little jealous that I wasn’t able to be there for her. I feel bad that I wasn’t able to be there for her. I remember coming in for our ten year high school reunion when she was finishing up her chemo/radiation treatments. She had lost her hair and I was trying valiantly to get her to attend the reunion. She hated wearing wigs and didn’t want to go because she wasn’t sure how people would react to her bald head. I tried to assure her that people would be happy to just have her there. They wouldn’t have cared that she was bald. But I could not convince her. 

I reread what she wrote in my yearbook our senior year and she talked about how when we were old our kids and grandkids were going to be best friends just like we were. Unfortunately that was not to be. It breaks my heart that she never had kids but in the long run, I guess it was best that she didn’t since they would have been motherless. 

I remember she had told me that they had operated and removed the tumor and she was going to be fine. In October I got a letter from her and it was really strange because in the middle of the letter you could tell a noticeable difference in the handwriting. I don’t know if it was because she had written part of it one time and then finished it later or by the middle of the letter she was just worn out. But midway through the letter the writing no longer looked like her handwriting. It got very sloppy and jerky and not like her at all. But, she told me in the letter that she was feeling bad again and that she was going to sell her car because she needed the money since she wasn’t working but for me not to worry, that when she finished her treatment and felt better she was sure she could buy a new one by January.  Alas, that was not to be. 

According to her, they “found” that the tumor had come back in mid October…. Three weeks later she died. She first lost her ability to really walk well, and her sense of balance, then she lost her sight and finally her ability to talk. It turns out that I found out MANY years later (actually within the last couple of years) that they did NOT remove her tumor. It was inoperable. This is the part I’m still not sure about. I’m not sure whether her parents TOLD her that they got it all so SHE wouldn’t be worried about it, whether she KNEW and didn’t want to tell ME so that I wouldn’t worry or whether they were all in denial? So, the tumor didn’t come back… it never left…. It was just the progression of the cancer I guess that caused all those symptoms to reappear after the chemo and radiation was stopped. I guess they knew there was nothing more they could do and decided to try to let her live out what time she had left as peacefully as possible. 

I regret that I didn’t realize how bad it was and that I didn’t go up there and spend more time with her. I regret that I wasn’t there to hold her hand in those last days. I regret that I wasn’t even able to be at her funeral/memorial service because I lived 4 states away and at the time couldn’t afford the time or money away from home. I regret that she didn’t live long enough for us to sit on the front porch in our rockers and laugh ourselves silly like we did when we were younger. I don’t regret any time I ever spent with my wonderful friend whom I will never forget. I love you Sam and I miss you girl. 

collage of my best friend Sam


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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24 Responses to For Kelly’s Lu and My Friend Sam

  1. terrepruitt says:

    Oh. I cannot say that I have any idea what you are going through. I cannot say anything, but it seems like you have a lot of guilt and I bet Sam forgives you for all of those regrets.

    I have a feeling that Sam loves all the blogging you do sharing about her and her life.

    I hope that you sharing your regrets and you shedding the tears while you are typing your blog (yeah, I know that is what you are doing)—I hope that helps you . . . I hope that maybe you are getting some of it out and letting go. I bet Sam understood that you couldn’t get there. So I bet she loves that you hold such a huge space for her now in your life and in your heart. And you are helping others know her and hold space for her in our hearts.

    I am sorry you lost your best friend. But I think you know that you were lucky to have her.

    Thank you for sharing. HUGS to you.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Terri, and it’s weird how well you know me through our blogs but you are right. And I’m typing through the tears right now!

  2. terrepruitt says:

    Oh and I tweeted Kelly’s Etsy page and her blog.

  3. suzicate says:

    I know how you feel about Sam. Don’t let guilt and regrets weigh you down. You were a very good friend to her. I know how hard it is losing a friend.

  4. Oh Peg, how heartbreaking. It sounds like she knew you were there for her, even if your life kept you physically apart. My HS best friend lives in San Fransisco and I rarely see her, but we are in each other’s hearts.
    Lovely tribute.

  5. Gretchen says:

    Oh Peg, I’m so sorry. This was a wonderful tribute to your friend. So tragic. One of my college roommates died from brain cancer a year ago, and I too feel guilty that I wasn’t there for her as much as I’d like to have been. She too, didn’t share how serious it really was.

  6. What a lovely tribute the lovely woman! My ex-husband (who I had the kids with) died of brain cancer at age 45. Way too young. I’m so sorry about your friend. Sam sounds like a fabulous creature, almost too bright for the dull of life!

  7. I’m so sorry… I really and truly am. I can’t even imagine what losing a best friend, someone so close that you feel is your twin in some ways and is your absolute negative in others, someone you giggled your way through teenhood with.
    I think it’s amazing and extremely beautiful that you’re keeping the memory of Sam alive within you – she’ll be immortal in that way, living inside your heart where you still love her.

  8. Jane says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss – as fresh as it still is in your heart. What a loving tribute and recognition for a great cause!

  9. Ron says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Sam, Peg.

    This brought tears to my eyes.

    I know exactly how you feel dear lady, because I lost my mother at a very young age to cancer and never had the chance to say goodbye or attend the funeral. One day if we should ever meet, I will share the whole story with you.

    As I got older, my mother and I were able to connect on a spiritual level and able to say the things we never got the chance to express and said our goodbyes.

    However, I realized something….

    It’s never really goodbye, because they are ALWAYS with us.

    {{{{{ Peg }}}}}}


    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Ron. I hope we DO meet in person one day soon. And now you have me intrigued…

      It’s really weird, but, after I wrote this last night I swear I could feel her “presence” more strongly than usual. I felt she was right here with me.

  10. Spot says:

    I’m so sorry you lost someone so special to you. Life is so unfair. Thanks for pointing out Kelley’s blog.

    And thanks for reminding me to tell my two best friends from HS that I love & miss them.


    • pegbur7 says:

      See if nothing else it was worth dredging up those feellings if it made you call your friends. I have made a conscious effort the last few years to reconnect with my school friends and let them know how much they mean to me! Thanks so much for your kind words.

  11. Angelia Sims says:

    You’ve given her memory and your friendship great honor plus helped a great cause. Your heart and your ache shine through. Bless you for this deeply emotional and deserving tribute to Sam.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Angelia. And if it helps Lu and Kelly spend more time together and eases Lu’s worries, that’s the whole point. I appreciate you so much Angelia!

  12. robin says:

    Hi Peg..Im sorry for this loss…at least you have your memories and special bond…it was very nice to remember her in this way.. a lovely tribute…I didnt know you and Sue were sisters…two lovely ladies…!!!I cant wait for my necklace to arrive…!!

    • pegbur7 says:

      I can’t wear jewelry myself (even though I love it). I am allergic to nickel and most metals are cut with it so it’s not worth the hassle of the usually ensuing rashes. I did order them for all my daughters though! I can’t wait to see them wearing them! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll be back!

  13. Pingback: Mean Girls Don’t Always STAY Mean « Square Peg in a Round Hole

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