“I was waiting for YOU to ask me!” she told me.
I had just asked Lisa if anybody had invited her to prom yet. I was not the most savvy of young men at the time.
So, I officially asked her to be my date and she said yes and we had a wonderful time at prom together.
We ended-up dating for a short time after that, but like many high school romances it eventually ended and we both moved on.
We remained friends, but lost touch after high school for the most part.
Then, ten years ago to the day, I saw Lisa’s smiling face in the obituaries. I gasped audibly. Not because it was totally unexpected, but because it was still hard to believe. And it made me really sad.
Lisa had Cystic Fibrosis, although I never understood the complexities and seriousness of the disease when we were together. The disease took her at age 26, which is close to average for expected lifespan. Again, something I didn’t know when we were together.
I remember people said I was brave for being with her because of her condition. To be honest, I was mostly just ignorant. Maybe naive is a better word. I was with her because she was cute and fun and funny. We did normal stuff. We went to the movies, we hungout at each others’ houses, we went to the park. It never crossed my mind that she would die young.
I’ve never thought about it until now, but I wonder if people thought the same thing about her being with me? How sweet of her to be with that boy with one hand! As far as I remember, neither of us ever talked about our “conditions.” It would have been like having late night conversations about the color of our hair or our height. Which she would have hated because she was so short.
The facts that she had CF and I had one hand were far down the list of things we were concerned about.
And I love that.
We miss you, Lisa! We’re all grateful for the time we had with you and are thankful for the smiles and laughter you brought. Your strength and determination inspired everyone you knew.