Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer

Today is Monday, another beautiful day of life to enjoy and make the most of our day. After I awaken, let the pups out and pour a cup of coffee, I hop on the computer, to hear the latest news in the world, then I click on Facebook.

Reading a few posts on Facebook, I am shocked, stunned, broken-hearted. Why? I have lost another friend – a friend I knew in high school. A woman who always spoke to me in school. A woman I reconnected with at the high school reunion held in April 2013.

Becki Vinson Matthews looked beautiful at the reunion. Life and age had been good to her. I recognized her on the spot. Others, well, I didn’t recognize so easily. At the Friday night function in Uptown Columbus, we rushed outside to ‘dance in the street.’ The band was too great to ignore inside a bar atmosphere. Additional classmates — mostly girls — joined us as we danced, and danced, and danced. We chatted a bit and I listened to her chatting away about life, and grandchildren. On Facebook, we read posts and made comments after the reunion.

I was truly shocked to read that she is now an angel in Heaven, no longer with us. I confess, at the reunion, as I looked at the Memory Wall, recognizing most of the 60 classmates now deceased, the curiosity of a writer danced in my mind…curious as to who would be the next high school photograph to add to the memory wall.

It is unfortunate that our generation has reached a time in our lives where death will occur more frequently. Still, there are so many illnesses and deaths that will attack our bodies. Apparently, Becki died from a massive heart attack. Someone wrote that she was having chest pains before the heart attack. At our class reunion, she looked like the picture of health. Dancing. Smiling. Laughing. Catching up with each of our lives. She was a member of the “Sister Chicks” a group of high school friends still connecting, dancing and sharing life together. She and a few others wanted me to become a ‘sister chick.’

I am still in shock that she is gone and I am happy that we purchased a memory book from the reunion. Hopefully, when the day arrives and I receive my copy in the mail, Becki will be the first person I look for. She was so kind to me, telling me at the reunion that “I had no idea you could sing so well, Barbie!”

I laughed. “Yes, I suppose my secret is out now, isn’t it!”

Before we left the reunion I hugged Becki, thanking her for her warmth and thoughtfulness. Never did I realize that would be our last hug together.

Rest in peace, Becki with that contagious smile on your beautiful face and warmth surrounding you. Our classmates will miss you terribly.

To those of my class who are reading this, and to all of my readers, I would like to share a bit of advice. Heart disease is on the rise in America. Please visit the website,
to learn more about the guidelines for a heart healthy life. We are told to eat healthy, move and exercise regularly and to get a physical yearly. At my last physical, my doctor ordered an electrocardiogram.

I am happy to report mine was — as my doctor expressed, “Perfect.” I was so pleased since my husband had a quadruple heart bypass in early 1998. I am constantly nagging him to exercise more and to watch what he eats carefully. He ignores me. Please, if you are reading this, make a pledge to yourself to take care of yourself, and please understand, Becki looked like the picture of health in April. Slim. Trim. Active. Energetic. We never know when something might occur to take our health away, but I am a true believer in living life to the fullest every day. And, when tomorrow comes, we must do what we can to protect our health. We hear of people dying quickly from heart attacks and many of those people did not know their heart was about to stop. Becki complained of chest pains before her death. Please, let us all make a pact today that if we have any of the symptoms of heart disease, or if we simply do not feel well, let us get to the doctor or hospital, to make certain we are well.

Symptoms of a heart attack:
Chest pains
Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach,
Shortness of breath
A feeling of lightheadedness or fainting
Cold sweat
Call 911 to get immediate treatment, please.

In memory of Becki Vinson Matthews – a classmate, mother, wife, grandmother, sister chick and a dear friend. Rest in peace, beautiful Becki. We will miss you!

3 thoughts on “In Memory of a Friend…

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