SHEILA RIEDEL April 3, 1952 – April 20, 2018
How do I say goodbye to you? I’ve known you for more than 50 years, raised two children with you, been through the good and bad times of life, and, for the last two and a half years, nursed you through a terminal cancer diagnosis and treatment. The last part of this journey has been exhausting and painful, but it brought us closer together and closer to God.
You were born in 1952 in Hugoton, Kansas, to Otis and Pauline Farmer. They brought you to Los Alamos, where I first saw you walking home from Pajarito Elementary School. I was sitting in a tree watching groups of kids on their way home, and all of a sudden there was this curly-haired girl with an infectious laugh who was acting very silly. You captured my heart at that moment, and you have had possession of it ever since.
We were re-acquainted in high school and slowly we began to form our love for one another. We were married in August of 1970, and that’s when our adventure started. Our children were born in 1974 (Marna) and 1978 (Melissa). We had the usual tumult of raising children, working, and trying to build our relationship. There were many ups and downs, but neither of us ever thought of backing out of our marriage vows. After all, a promise is a promise, right? I can truthfully say that I never even imagined what life would be like without you. After all, you are the person that God chose for me out of everyone in the world, and I am your chosen person. As I have found out, sometimes God has different plans than we have. This will be a hard period of adjustment, but knowing that I will someday see you again will help me get through it.
Thank you for everything you did for me and for our family. Thank you for always being there when things were hard. Thank you for loving all those you came in contact with: grocery store clerks, little children, troubled teenagers, strangers on the street, retail workers, and just about everyone else. You showed them the face of Jesus through your caring interactions. Our kids always said that you mothered everyone they ever brought home and treated all their friends with unconditional acceptance and love. How true!
I thank you for every minute of our lives together. It was a privilege to get to (not have to) care for you during the past two and a half years. You truly embodied courage during your cancer ordeal. Everyone who cared for you grew to love you because of the love and respect you showed to them. People are truly better off because they met you. I love you forever.
We will be celebrating Sheila’s life sometime this summer at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos. I will let everyone know when we decide on the date.