August 2018 brought another wave that toppled me! My dear, best friend whom I had known for 26 years was gone. She was at the hospital when my daughter was born, she was there for every moment of my life tsunami, she was my witness when I married my love, we shared 25 New Years celebrations together and most important, she was simply always there when I needed her no matter how big or small, good or bad. Her passing abrupt, rocked my foundation. She is always with me and remains an inspiration in my life. I miss her dearly! To honor her legacy, I share a few things she taught me and hope you will share them with your friends and daughters.
- Value of a girlfriend. The first bit of advice my friend Colleen shared with me was to always surround myself with girlfriends. Speaking from a place of experience, she told me that men can come and go but your good girlfriends will always be by your side, understand you and care about you. As my life unfolded, her advice held true time and time again. At her memorial service, I found strength from all of those girlfriends she had collected on her journey.
- Never say never. So often, people think they know their family is different than others, that circumstances others face will never be experienced by their members, that they control destiny… so more often cracks in their false reality turn into gaping holes. Be humble, aware, informed, and gracious so you are ready for all that life can bring your way.
- Hear and See those around you. Not everyone is an extrovert. Not everyone is confident. Not everyone is the favorite. Not everyone can put themselves out there. But everyone wants to be seen and heard. See people – recognize they matter. Hear people – validate their thoughts and opinions. It’s the core of humanity.
- Listen to your body. Those who love her likely have various views about what went wrong and what, if anything, could have changed the outcome but I think we would all agree that she didn’t hear what her body was telling her. The imagination can impact our decision making. Fear can make us immobile. There is no way to dispute that knowing your true condition, no matter how bad the news, is the only way you can optimize your chances of survival and quality of life. Listen to your body – especially when it is yelling at you.
- Time is short. Even when they are gone, they are with you. After more than 6 months, I still feel her near. I still hear her talk to me and I am reminded of her by everyday things. While the wounds remain deep and the loss great, I am comforted to know how lucky I was to have had her in my life for over 26 years and cherish those memories always.
Remember Colleen’s favorite Disney character, TinkerBell. All you need is a little faith, trust and pixie dust!