A tragedy in my hometown. I’ll miss you Rhoda McFarland.

Yesterday morning shortly after awaking, I got a voicemail on my cell phone from a slightly panicked friend who called to check on me. She was calling to see if I was at that Lane Bryant store, shopping as I usually do on Saturday mornings. Saturdays are the days when I can sneek out to hit my favorite shop to find some great clearance items and cash in my monthly coupon. Since the store is only a mile from my house, it’s a quick fix for a habitual shopper. Instead, I slept in because the night before, my hubby kept cajoling me to stay up and watch “just one more” episode of LOST and I ended up turning in around 4am.

My husband may very well have saved my life. I woke up to learn the store that I practically live in was involved in a ‘robbery gone bad” and 5 women were killed, after they were herded into the back room by a black man weilding a gun. Can you imagine the horror of suddenly being in a situation like that, your life changing on a dime before you and wondering if you will live to see tomorrow? It gives me a hole in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it.

One of the women killed yesterday morning was a saleslady I have come to love named Rhoda McFarland. In fact, yesterday, from the minute I found out about the killings, I had Rhoda on my mind-praying and hoping that maybe she had the day off. Please God, don’t let it be Rhoda. The police didn’t release the identities of the slain women until today, so I was on pins and needles wishing and hoping and praying Rhoda was at home watching this all unfold on her TV, just like I was.

When I would shop at Lane Bryant, and if she was working she’d always greet me with a, ”Hello soul sistah!”(I revealed to her jokingly that after a DNA test, I found out I have 7% black in me, so from then on she affectionately called me soul sister.) She would ask me how everything was going and she and I would just joke around and laugh. She was so nice, I was tempted to ask her if she would ever want to do lunch some time–but I never did. Rhoda had the most infectious laugh…it made what she was laughing about even funnier. Her smile was a mile wide and she was such a beautiful woman. I looked forward to seeing her every time I came in to the store. Oh, how I will miss her. What hits me in the heart is thinking how she was probably treated. I’m sure shear terror ripped through her before that bullet ended her life. I am in shock. I just can’t stomach the thought that Rhoda isn’t on this earth any more. I am so sad.

I wish I would have known the last time I saw her that it would be for the last time. I would have for sure given her a hug goodbye. But life isn’t that fair or considerate of us. Life just does what it wants. All day yesterday I vowed that if Rhoda was off, and if I see her again, I was going to give her the biggest hug and tell her how happy she makes me and how grateful I am that she’s alive. Today, I learned, I will never get that chance. This teaches me something about life. Something I always knew, but never really applied to real life because I never had someone I care about or like die suddenly like that. But what it teaches me is if there are people in your life who make your heart happy, irregardless if they are your child’s teacher or the employee at your favorite store, or your handy mechanic, make sure you tell them what they mean to you. Make sure you let them know you appreciate their kindness and hug them. You never know, someday they may be taken from you and suddenly there are no more chances. Poof, they are gone-plucked out of your life no matter if you like it or not. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you and say hello to your neighbors. Some day it may be the last time you have the chance.

Rhoda, Soul Sister, I will be looking for you in heaven. Keep a spot open for me. Did I ever tell you how happy you made me? Girl, there’s no one around like you. Sorry I didn’t get to give you that hug goodbye or go for lunch with you. Just so you know how much you were liked, and what a bright spot you were.

Rest in peace, girlfriend.

(Thank you LARRY, for the forced all nighter. Because of you, I am here today to write this.)

6 thoughts on “A tragedy in my hometown. I’ll miss you Rhoda McFarland.”

  1. Hi Em,
    My heart goes out to your sad spirit today.
    I know exactly the conncection you felt with losing Rhoda. Id feel the same way if I ever lost you. (although we never met in person,, you touched me) I dont think you ever appreciated how your passion and love for life affected me when I was able to finally follow my own dream and follow directions to the first doll pattern of yours I was able to complete and celebrate. October Annie. Since then Im a maniac designing my own…. I wrote you last year to thank you for your commitment & passion and although you thanked me, Im not sure until now that you finally “get” the connection we women feel toward eachother when we reach out to them whether we may know it or not. It was my privilidge to let you know how your spirit and lifes passion in dollmaking profoundly touched mine.. You did that indeed with Rhoda. Ill bet she thought of you with the same warm and fuzzies.
    I would be honored if you would take a peek at my blog…you had much to do with the courage it has taken me to begin my new journey. Thanks again. thank you Em, thank you Rhoda for making a difference in our lives. Hugs, & prayers of healing for all touched by this devestation. Kat “Scaredy Kat Folheart”


  2. Em,

    What a beautiful tribute to someone you hardly knew. The shooting has been on my mind all day since yesterday. It real hit close to home. Julie and I were just there last week and it makes me sick to think what if he would have choose last Sunday instead?

    When I heard the news I instantly thought of you and held my breath in fear as I dialed your number. I was never so happy then when you returned my call. How scary to think it could have been us.

    I thank God for our safety, and pray Rhoda is in a better place.

    Love you Em!



  3. Hugs to you Em…my heart goes out to you and all affected by this tragedy. Rhoda sounds like a wonderful person and her photo shows a sweet soul…and even though you didn’t get to say goodbye to her, she would have known how much you thought of her..
    You, yourself are a wonderful person and i say thanks to you for making my life brighter and making me feel special everytime i come on here..
    luv Ann.xx


  4. wow that is the most touching story I’ve ever heard… just stumbled upon your blog…. and was having an awful day… I just got grounded… and i take back everything I said about my parents…. I’m only 13, but love altered art, and decided to check out your blog… you sound soo great and I’m soo sorry for your loss… and thank gosh this didn’t happen to you and I dont know you, but I now dont ever want to take anything for granted ever again… God bless you and Rhonda and her family.. thanks xoxo


  5. So sad when reading this. My thoughts have been with the families of those tragically slain.
    Blessings to you, Em


  6. Wow,

    All of the senseless crime is really making me sad. I find myself becoming really cynical but after reading your blog about Rhoda, I realize that I must appreciate those who affect me.

    Thanks for the good write-up.


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