Word is going around my professional world that we lost a colleague and friend today in a most unfortunate accident. She was 42 – my age. It is shocking, to put it mildly.
I’ve known this woman for about 8 years. Once upon a time we even served in the same division although we were in very different positions. She was always someone I’d want to stop and visit with if I walked past her office. She was sassy, a bit irreverent. You know, fun. She was an amazing woman – a single mom to 2 girls who seemed to be able to do it all. She bought a house on her own. She made sure her girls got into the best possible schools in this town – no mean feat. There was tennis camp every summer. She always did it without seeming stressed. She did it by herself. She did have a significant other – he may have even been a fiancé – but she wasn’t about to move and disrupt her kids’ schooling.
Over the past several years, we both moved to different positions within the agency, moved to different floors. But we would always stop and speak to each other when we saw each other in passing. I would always walk away with a smile on my face, often giggling because of some wonderfully inappropriate comment she had made. I’m sad that there won’t be more of those moments.
And her girls… Now without their glorious mother. I can’t imagine their sense of loss and absolute sadness right now and for a long time to come.
I don’t do death well. I’m not religious. I don’t entirely understand funerals. They say they’re more for the living than the deceased, but they’ve never done anything for me but make me intensely uncomfortable. I suppose I would rather use my own memories to celebrate someone.
All that said, this is one of those times when I’m reminded that this is all very ephemeral – we are not promised anything. In this woman’s memory, I’m going to try to be better about being more present, more available, more connected. When it’s all said and done, these connections are what’s important – not vacations or houses or stuff. And time is limited.