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Sarah Stultz: Let your loved ones, friends know you care

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

A friend of mine died last week.

Though she suffered from health problems, it was still unexpected and shocked me and many others.

My friend was not quite 50, and I met her when she moved to Albert Lea because she was dating someone at the time who attends my church.

My daughter and my son took to her very quickly, as did many of the other children in the church. She had a way with the children and was given the opportunity to work with the children’s classes there. Though not a parent herself, the children loved having her in there, and she loved being there.

She had an especially close relationship with my daughter, Sophie, who passed away in 2016, and took her death hard — though she still always tried to be a support to me, as well.

My friend’s health problems kept her from many of the things she would have liked to have done in recent years, including attending church, and with the COVID-19 pandemic during the last year and a few months, we had not seen each other for a while.

Because of her health, even after we were allowed to come back to church, she was not able to do so immediately at the recommendations of her doctors because she was considered high-risk and could not afford to get the virus.

She was so looking forward to returning again more regularly.

Though we had not seen each other for a while, I appreciated the friendship we were able to keep through social media and periodic messages with each other.

I liked to check in on her and see how she was doing, and she often did the same for me.

I remember a few months ago, we were talking on Facebook about how things were going in our lives, and I was talking to her about some challenges I was facing with my son.

I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember that she encouraged me and lifted me up so that when I left that conversation, I had more confidence and felt more capable of  being able to work through those challenges.

I hope that I was able to help her in return feel the same way.

We never know when our friends and family may leave this life, and her death has been a good reminder of that for me. We must do all we can today to let our friends and family know they are loved.

Though we will be separated for a time, I have no doubt my friend and Sophie have reunited.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.