It was almost a month ago that my friend died. I haven’t written about her on here, but I think my recent increase of blogposts is largely due to the fact that I am simply unable to cope with both the accident and her passing.
She was a colleague of mine. The first person that truly made me feel welcomed and safe in that work environment. During my second year in that job, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was gone for the whole year. I was overwhelmed with my job and she and I weren’t quite friends yet, but we were more than acquaintances. I wrote her an email. She didn’t write back. We all thought she would pass away that year. I was afraid of that and for once, I didn’t know how to respond despite my many experiences with death.
My third year, my work space was moved next door to her. She returned: proud, persistent, unwavering, and determined to teach and fight her battle with cancer. Every two weeks she flew across the country for 2 days of treatment. She’d fly back and return immediately to work. Her hair fell out, her skin was pale, but she was glowing a beautiful light of faith and determination.
She was my friend. She was someone I held so dear. Every day that I was in that building (which was 3 times a week) she and I would talk for such a long time after our work day. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes an hour. You never knew her, but if you did for just 10 minutes, your life would be changed. I had never met someone like her. She was giving, kind, courageous, yet fragile, fearful, and ever-faithful. She was Cindy.
My heart and soul spent so much time trying to find ways to make her life just a little bit easier. Little gifts, snacks, cards, notes, phrases, prayers. Whatever we could do. For many reasons, I left that job in June and started another soon after. I always felt guilty about leaving her. I ran into her in September. It was so good to see her. She and I caught up and left with promises to get together.
I sent her an email in December. She never wrote back.
And now she never will.
I didn’t know she wasn’t doing well. I didn’t know she had beaten her cancer and then been diagnosed with another kind of the same illness. I didn’t know she was in hospice. No one told me. I just got a message on a Wednesday night telling me she was gone.
I still think of her in her room working, correcting papers, planning, and inspiring everyone around her. I’m not in that building anymore so it’s easier to think of her being there than imagine that she is not.
I heard some music today. It was one of the pieces that I put on a playlist for her to help her sleep. “Music for Cindy”
Tomorrow is her birthday. I don’t know what I’ll do, but I pray that every moment I walk this earth I can live with the same lightness, joy, gratitude, and spirit that she lived in.
Happy Birthday, My Dearest Friend. I miss you dearly. I pray you are well.