Celebrations & Condolences

I wish I was more adept at writing about these things, those which are the most difficult to address. This week has been turbulent, to say the least. Monday I received news I would no longer have to worry about the cancer threat, something I have been battling for 12.5 years. That long, and Monday rolled around that…No more. I was clear, the last test over the past year came back clear. It was a day for utter joy for me! I walked around the halls of the office I work in, in a state of complete bliss. That weight had been lifted, life was wonderful. Tuesday came, I enjoyed my day, had good lunch and conversation with friends and wondered about where a coworker and friend was, thinking how I was glad that one person I could not stand had brought her and another to our company. Ironic, I had mused, that someone I had come to hate knows so many good people, when they themselves are what I consider scum. Still, that thought crossed my mind as I thought about when I would get to speak to this particular friend and coworker whom I had not seen this week.

Wednesday comes, it was a day for me to see another doctor for another set of health issues that I hope to resolve more easily than the other issues. A mandatory meeting invite is sent out, but I’m not in the office to attend in person. No call in number. No notes. I see one of my friends, also a coworker, online and ask her what the meeting was about, and she writes it out so simply, states it so plainly I couldn’t breathe. The coworker I had been thinking about the day before, that happy, young, smiling, laughing, beautiful, sweetheart of a woman…she passed away, Sunday evening. It was a simple sentence, structure straightforward, and yet such a complicated entanglement of emotions and reality it crushed me as I began to undergo the motions for the 5 stages of grief: Denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’m a little between depression and acceptance, I think. The thought how we had just spoken only a few days before keeps hitting me like a tidal wave, yesterday was my first day back in the office and I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting here at my desk. Her desk is one row over, I see it every time I get up to go Anywhere. It’s that shock and stark realization that is always a subtle understanding in the back of one’s mind: we can die at any time, anywhere. Anyone. So why does it take something such as this to shake us down and demand our attention? To make us look at our friends and family, our loved ones and hold them tight the way we should, call them more, check in, take care in every way?

I was lucky in the fact that I was at home, I was able to be a complete mess and cry in that uninhibited manner. Majority of my coworkers did not have that luxury, they had to go through the day, work, and all feeling/believing they had to contain their sorrow. In these situations, I’m not good at doing that. Aside from firmly believing moments such as those should not be forced down inside, hidden away. That’s simply unhealthy. It’s harmful. Worst part is, when I went to leave, I saw a woman going into the bathroom and for just a split second, the briefest moment, I thought it was her. Such a tiny speck in time, but it snapped against my heart and I had to collect myself, take a moment to remember we would never see her happy, smiling face. Then, the part that is unbelievable despair is the pain her family must be experiencing. No parent should outlive their child, but there it is. Yes, it happens all over the world, all the time. Children of parents lost at any age. I started praying immediately, angry as I was, confused, I had to, personally. Her mother, her family, they need healing that I cannot give. All I can do is offer my condolences and prayers, and be thankful that I knew her even this brief span in life that I have.

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