I can’t believe today is actually here.
Today, my great friend, Sheila Igoe, moves with her family to Singapore. I have to admit, I never saw the finality in her leaving. I kept telling her, “I’m not saying ‘Good-Bye’, just a ‘See you later’…” I never saw their move as a permanent change, but rather a great adventure in a new culture. Two of my best friends were ex-Pats in London — one for twelve years, and the other for four or five — and are already back in the States. Not a blink-of-the-eye, but surely not a forever change.
That said, this past weekend, I went to a Going-Away party for Sheila. On my 45-minute drive to her neck of the woods, I realized that I’d only know one other person at the party — one of my all-time favorite friends, Phyllis. Phyllis introduced us. She was our connection. When I arrived at the party, I had no idea what I was in for — excited to see Phyllis; sad to send off my friend — but I left feeling totally fulfilled and inspired by the group of women that were there, and mostly by Sheila.
I always knew Sheila was amazing. We talked on the phone for months before we actually met each other in person. Our bond was instant. Sheila is a designer. A graphic designer, with a background in fashion and the entertainment industry. She’s an “artist,” as Phyllis would introduce her. Not only is she ultra-creative, but she’s a California girl — through and through. So, our Vans-fashion is something we have in common, albeit, me a Californian for a much shorter blip in time. Our conversations could go on endlessly. When it came to creative discussions, our minds would spin-off in so many directions that we never knew where we had started. Sheila inspired me every single day.
What I didn’t expect, was that I would be overwhelmed with emotions of love. At her own party, Sheila gave a speech. A seriously sentimental one. One, where she started crying even before she could finish her first sentence. Sheila, had moved to Massachusetts five years prior, and in a room full of sixteen people, addressed each and everyone of us directly. She introduced and thanked every single person, in the order of which we had come into her life. She told us how we affected her life, and how much she loved us. It was a beautiful evening. It’s not often that you get to tell everyone in your life how much they mean to you and how grateful you are that your paths crossed and that you have each other in your lives.
I’ve known Sheila for a short, two years and eight months. She is a selfless, thoughtful, and generous person. She would do anything to help anyone. If someone would do a nice gesture for her (I’m thinking of the time a college-kid took $2 out of his pocket to help her when she was short at the cash register), she would pay them back tenfold (that kid got his $2 back and a gift he never imagined!). She is all heart and all soul. I talked to Sheila almost daily for those two years and eight months, and yet I feel like I took our friendship for granted. She was always there for me, but was I for her? I sure hope so, even though it feels like, gosh, where did the time go, and why didn’t we spend more time with each other’s families?
Her Going-Away party was a reminder to me that life is precious. We need to stop more frequently and appreciate the people in our lives and TELL them that. It’s why I love rehearsal dinners more so than weddings…for the speeches and for the emotion. I remember going through this phase after September 11th — where I felt such a responsibility to tell everyone that I love, how much I loved them, and a need to find all of the people that had an impact on me, whose paths I crossed at some point in my life. I started to do that, and every once in a while will get a little intense with someone when they least expect it.
I’ve mentioned Sheila, here and here on the blog, and have thanked her over and over for helping me chase my dream. She has been an instrumental friend in my life — always inspirational and ever so talented. Kindred spirits, as Sheila calls us. I’ll miss her, but look forward to following her Singapore adventures on her blog, Igoe Creative Goes to Singapore! I hope you’ll join me…she’s sure to dig up some serious eye-candy across the globe.
Peace out, Sheila. Be totally rad! Be Off-the-Wall! Be happy. Be safe. And be back soon!