Wishing good health and happiness


Today is the birthday of my earliest best friend. We have been connected since as far back as my memory takes me. Her dad came to our farm often over the years, working for the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District, and our friendship was rooted in the mutual respect our fathers had for one another before we were even born.

As I write this, I have been unable to reach her for the very first time in my life, and it has my world turned on its axis.

Just a little over a year ago, Kathy and I were both about to land on our 60th birthday just a couple of weeks apart, and kicked around ideas on how to celebrate. Then, with no warning, Kathy’s firstborn child died suddenly of heart failure at age 36.

Our world stopped spinning, and in the despair of shock and grief, nothing seemed quite real. Not a single day has passed without thoughts of Mark.

It still doesn’t seem quite real, even after a full year of our world without him in it. I am also wise enough to know that even as much as I know and love Kathy, I can never fully comprehend the pain she and her husband experience every moment.

I have found peace in reaching out to her, so that she knows how much I care, and to reassure myself she is surviving the uphill adjustment of a drastically changed life.

Each year about this time, Kathy has enjoyed a family getaway vacation to warmth and sunshine. This year, a flight to Florida had been long-planned, then a week cruising the Caribbean islands.

I wondered and worried if maybe they should postpone it, but kept my thoughts to myself. I knew they needed this escape from the daily grind. Kathy and her hubby live just a stone’s throw from us, and I told her we would keep an eye on the homefront.

The news has escalated daily of quarantine and other major concerns, specifically, of issues on cruise ships.

Trying not to worry, I want to celebrate my oldest friend’s birthday today with, at the very least, a phone call from her, and to learn that she is standing in sunshine, making plans for the trip back home.

Wishing each of you good health and happiness, no matter where these words find you.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.



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