This weekend I lost a friend.
Sometimes death is expected so you brace for it. And other times, it reaches in unexpectedly and snatches people you love (and your breath) away. The latter was the case this weekend.
My co-worker-turned-friend La'Tavia lost her valiant fight against cancer.
I'd expected her to come out the champ over cancer this round since she'd previously gotten a clean bill of health before and because she was just a fighter at heart.
Having death grab someone you like and love so quickly and viciously has a tendency to leave you feeling angry which can fester into bitterness. I'm determined not to let that happen here. My time with my friend was full and fun. There were no unspoken words between us and no regrets. That's the way all of our relationships should be.
Often life gets in the way of us spending time with people we hold dear. We have errands, to-do lists, chores, jobs, bills and a laundry lists of other things that push the people we say we cherish to the back burner. And then when they're gone, we're left wishing we'd done and said more.
I have smiles and laughter-filled memories of my days with La'Tavia. Her leaving is hard but it's a reminder that connection is important. Yes, we have work and other obligations, but not at the expense of those special people in our lives. There would be weeks spread out between our visits because we'd gotten busy. Then we'd ring each other's extensions at work and say, "I know I've got a deadline, but I'm just going to drop in to see you right quick." Or we would meet up on our days off and get our eyebrows threaded. So often I'd call her for some help and she'd offer the most practical solution. She'd often joke that I needed her street smarts instead of all the book smarts I had. And then there would be days she would call saying, "I need your book smarts today." It was a friendship with the perfect balance of ying and yang.
I will miss our impromptu chats. Her wit, humor and insight. Her presence at the boys' birthday parties & advice on raising daughters. She is forever a gem in my book.
Life is galloping along at full speed and soon there will be no more time to keep pushing things to the back burner.
Need to call a friend? Do it! Been putting off lunch with a loved one? Reach out! I know I'm happy for all the times that I have.
"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone." Harriet Beecher Stowe