I was a busy young executive working my way up the ladder. Landed a VP job in Washington, DC and I was on my way! Needed some help though; someone stable in the office to keep things moving and wrap them in a bow at the end. Someone who could keep pace with my busy schedule and keep me pointed in the right direction. Someone who would prevent me from being swept away with too many priorities or my own ego. Turns out she was just the one to do that.
Losing a Friend – #649
We had worked together, years and year ago. When I left our mutual employment, we maintained the friendship from a distance. We’d catch up, a couple of times a year and it was like we had talked just the day before.
So her call today was most welcome. But her voice, somehow, was different. Just as joyful, but somehow serious as well.
“I am dying,” she told me. Matter of factly, straight forward. No embellishment. A simple statement.
I knew she was battling one of those unfair and deadly diseases. But they had kept it at bay; until now.
“I’m not afraid,” she told me. “I’ve done right during my life, I know the Lord, and I am ready”. She was headed to hospice.
My first thought was that I had to go and see her. Then I thought better of it.
We had not been in the same room together in 32 years. I had an image of this tiny, exuberant blonde lady with the beautiful blue eyes.
The right direction now was to let us both keep our images of our young and eager selves.
There are lots more phone calls. They get more difficult as the days roll by. She has less stamina and coherence. But here we are together, keeping our friendship fresh and bright, right to the last day.
On one phone call, when we say goodbye, it will be goodbye for good.
It happened today. Something occurred and my first thought was that i had to share it with my phone friend. She would understand and laugh with me. Oh yes, I remembered, she can’t do that anymore. She is all bundled up in my warm memories of the time we shared, and I can still imagine her laughing with me. So I shared the incident with her anyway, silently, and laughed out loud, for both of us.