I was beyond shocked at about midday today.
I was working from home when an old work colleague called me.
She told me that a mutual friend of ours, our old work friend, had died.
She cried, and I said ‘Oh my God,’ repeatedly.
It wasn’t that much of a shock. In terms of, we knew she had been battling a serious illness for years now.
But she had been winning. She had been beating it, time and time again, and I really felt like her bubbly personality and upbeat attitude would actually kick its arse.
I really did. I thought she had.
I read her posts on facebook, and I also followed her journey, taking in eagerly her updates that she was getting better, she was part of the small percentage that was still alive since her original diagnosis, watching her face on the screen of my mobile, all happy and positive, the way I used to see her when we worked together.
Back in the party shop days, when we were both in uni. We’d usually work the same Friday night shift, 4pm-8pm, and she’d fill me in on her weekend plans, the clubs she would frequent, the friends she would go out with. She was so bubbly. So positive. I don’t think I ever saw her mad. EVER. Even when a sad or sore topic crossed her lips, all it did was lower her voice, make her eyes go distant for only a moment…
But then she’d be back. That happy girl we all knew.
Today on the phone, my old work friend cried. I just stared at my computer screen, my mind blank with shock. I told her I’d call her back to have a good chat… I was at work, and had to process it all. She urged me to check out the facebook page that confirmed the sad news.
We hung up, and I knew I shouldn’t have… not just because I was at work, but because my mind was already becoming a jumbled mess.
But I did. I looked up the facebook page and burst into tears.
Why? Why her? How? She was 2 years younger than me. She was 34 when she died, months ago, and we’d only found out now. My heart sobbed. I felt sad all over. I thought of her again and again, her fight, her courage, her strength…
I struggled to think of memories. They were from so long ago, over a decade now. But slowly they came back, more and more.
Her long nails that she kept immaculate, strong and healthy despite all the balloons we tied and dust we encountered.
I remembered her 21st birthday. It was in a huge hall and she had hundreds of people there. She was dating a guy she was rapt about at the time, but he ended up to be a bit of a douche. I have to say, I wasn’t surprised about him when she later told us.
But I was beyond floored to hear the news of her death today.
Why? How? How did this happen? She had a loving family. A wide circle of friends.
She was going places. She loved her job. She was motivated. Dedicated. hard-working. Fun and cheeky and hilarious.
How did this happen?
This afternoon, my thoughts went into a deep, dark place. I cried over my keyboard, and then Hubbie came home for lunch and I cried some more.
He just nodded. He understood.
I told him I was scared. “What’s the point of life… we’re all leading towards death, or heading towards watching all our loved ones die. I’m scared to love anyone.”
I struggled with these thoughts. To and fro I went, battling, thinking of her, thinking how life was scary, life was unfair… life didn’t ask you. Things happened.
Things just happened.
Nothing mattered anymore. All this coronavirus crap… seriously who cared?
We were alive! We were breathing. Hell even if I felt pain somewhere, it meant I was alive.
I was feeling. Breathing.
A few little things made me realise what was important in the second part of the day. I finished work, and instead of rushing off to do home-schooling, and start the whole routine of getting jobs done, I sat with baby girl. Watched her draw with some colouring pens she’d re-discovered.
We had our coffee break on the balcony.
I used my eyes to look at the water.
My hands to wave at the passing neighbour.
I smelt the coffee with my nose.
I felt the sunshine on my face.
I heard the wind breathing as it wrapped the warmth of Spring around us.
I was alive.
We took a walk around the block. I needed it. We looked at houses. We counted street signs. We laughed. Touched leaves. Ran.
At home, I read, on whim. I’ve been holding back, trying to not read as much in order to motivate myself to catch up on my Book Reviews for my blog… but it’s made my soul sad. My soul wants to read. I want to read.
So I read a chapter just before dinner.
Yes, if you looked at it deeply, darkly… we were all leading to inevitable death. Ours, or everyone around us.
And we didn’t know what would come first.
Bleak, yes. Not very glass half-full at all.
But we had this life to live… and to love, was to live. We had to spend our time on this earth making the most of it, enjoying the little moments, using our senses, experiencing them, and being grateful that we were granted time on this earth at all.
Doing what we wanted. What made us feel good, in our core. I realised I had really followed my heart today, because the news of our work friend passing was so upsetting, I had to do something to make myself feel better…
I am still so profoundly sad. I think of her and I feel like crying all over again. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe she’s not here anymore.
Despite everything, I spent my time doing something for me today. Something to make me smile through my sadness. Something to make me happy through my tears.
And it was made all the more meaningful tonight. Baby girl kept asking for kiss after kiss after hug after hug from us, as she lay in bed tonight. It became a joke to her, saying “one more,” every time we moved back.
But it meant something entirely different to me.
“Yes honey. One more.”
And more. And more.
RIP SJ. 💖🙏