A Travellerspoint blog

In memory of my travel buddy Berni Shand

Thinking of Berni on her birthday and the life lessons she taught me.


Berni's original Virtual Tourist photo - my first memory of her

I had a very dear friend named Berni. She was a friend from the internet. We met on a travel web site. We talked on line for hours on end. She was a very funny lady and kept me laughing late into the night on many occasions. She loved to collect shoes. She had closets full of shoes. She also loved to travel. We laughed together, we shared secrets, we cried together. We had a perfect online friendship. Suddenly one day as we were talking she said to me "Larry I have just been diagnosed with cancer." I was speechless. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. When Berni lost her hair from her chemotherapy treatments I sent her a giant Maryland crab hat. I told her to wear it out in public so she would not attract attention to herself. She loved it. She told me she laughed for days over that silly hat. Everyone who came to visit her had to wear the crab hat and she would send me photos of them wearing the hat. I went to England to meet her and she was no longer able to wear her beloved high heeled shoes. She was in a wheel chair. But we laughed and had some wonderful party moments in London. Two years later she was near the end and I traveled to England to see her one last time. She was still so full of life. She and her husband had sold their home and possessions and traveled the last two years of her life. This last visit in London was not sad. We laughed and talked and enjoyed our time together. My last memory of her is seeing her husband Carl wheel her through the British museum in London. I was surprised as ill as she to see her going through the museum. She said to me I still want to learn. I never want to stop seeing something new. Even near death she still wanted to see and experience life.


When I was in Oslo Norway I saw this wonderful statue of a nude lady with red high heels. I immediately thought of Berni when I saw the shoes on the statue. Berni was very ill by this time. I took a picture and sent a copy to Berni. I labeled it Berni and Larry in Oslo. She replied back to me "Get your hands off my ass. Its cold back there." Oh how she made me laugh. I learned more about living from her those last few years than I had in a lifetime from any where else. One of the last times we spoke she was talking about traveling to Florida. She wanted to watch a space launch at Cape Kennedy. She never made it to Florida. I miss you Berni. But I know your still near wearing those high heels where ever you are and thinking about that still makes me me laugh.




With Berni and Carl

Posted by littlesam1 09:56

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What a wonderful friend.

by Beausoleil

so sad to read but I am sure she is watching over you from above!

by Ils1976

Lovely tribute.

by alectrevor

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