Friday, February 13, 2009

Ear aches, beeps, hugs, and bridal showers

I just learned that someone I've known all through my childhood has just lost her battle with cancer. Sandy Calendar was my elementary school nurse and constant friend at church throughout my life. She has been battling cancer for the last several years and this morning passed away. She has a son and daughter that are around Abra's age, but I never really knew them. I just have vivid memories of her as my nurse and seeing her at every Methodist bridal shower I ever attended. I wanted to honor Sandy with the telling of my first vivid memory of her when I was 8 years old.

When I was in 3rd grade, the whole school was given hearing tests. You had to go into this portable building and wait in line that was scotched tape to the carpet. You went behind this screen where Mrs. Calendar, this petite woman with curly brown hair and pale complexion, would put these huge ear phones on your ears and test you with the beeps. You raised your hand on whatever side you heard the beep. I remember being tested for an extra long time and kept raising the wrong arm. I remember getting upset when there was an extra long pause and I couldn't hear anything (the pitch was too high for me). Mrs. Calendar took the earphones off and asked me in her soft voice if I ever got ear aches (which I did often at this time) and telling me it was okay and giving me a green sucker. Ends up I had an ear infection at the time and was interferring in my hearing.

Several months later I had terrible stomach cramps in the middle of class (I never got sick as a kid) and asked to go to the nurse. On the way there, I threw up in the grass next to the sidewalk and was SO embarrassed. I remember crying the whole way to Mrs. Calendar's office, and she taking me behind a screen and calming me down. She put a cold cloth on my forehead and told me she would call my mom for me. I actually felt tremendously better after throwing up (probably because I had gotten rid of all the chicken rings in my stomach from lunch...grosses me out just thinking about those school lunches), and she and I had a long chat about school and my dad. She was a big fan of him. Always when I felt bad at school or had allergies, I was never scared to go to the nurse because I knew Mrs. Calendar would be there and make it better with her warm hugs and soft voice.

Years later whenever I attended bridal showers with my mom, I would often spend my time chatting with Mrs. Calendar and Mrs. Colwell. She was always so interested in whatever it was I was doing and would ask about Abra and my dad. She was so sweet, and I will miss seeing her at those showers :(

So here is to you Sandy Calendar. You made elementary school all the sweeter and bridal showers all the more memorable. You were a Christian woman through and through, and I can only hope that I will someday be as sweet and sincere as you. May God be with your family during this difficult time. I didn't think I would get emotional writing this but I cannot help having tears running down my cheeks as I type this.

She really was such a sweet person, and my heart is breaking for Amy because I cannot imagine losing my mother so young. I guess it just makes me appreciate what I have - 2 healthy parents so I think I'll call my mom again to tell her how grateful I am for her.

I will miss you Sandy Calendar...