My Mom made a new best friend when I was in New Jersey. My family started talking of a "Sandy" and didn't I remember her from church? Her kids were around our ages? No. I couldn't place her.
Then we flew home for Mom's wedding, which was held at Sandy's home. I had a non-stop nursing four month old and I spent most of the reception lying on Sandy's bed doing just that, except for a brief moment when I stood in the bathroom and Sandy helped me sponge milk out of my new dress so it wouldn't stain (it didn't!).
That was the start of a glorious relationship, one that goes beyond my Mom having a best friend and becoming something more.....Sandy is family. My kids call her Grandma and I have lovingly referred to her as a second Mom.
She's been there for our highs and lows. She's helped clean and cook and celebrate and laugh and pray. Oh, how she can pray! If you've never been pulled into a Sandy pray hug, then you've never met her. She's not afraid to hug or pray and often is moved to do both at the same time.
She's moved before: home nursing in the hills of Kentucky and mission trips to Guatemala, but this feels different. Before, I always knew we'd see her again, this was her home base, but this move is a move of that home base back to her family roots.
I'm happy for her and wish her all the joy of going home to siblings and cousins and the stomping grounds of her youth.....
But there is going to be a Sandy sized hole in our family and she will be so very, very missed.