My coworker called me late last night, weeping, saying "She's gone."
I tried to process what that meant all the while trying to comfort my coworker.
I tried to figure out whether I needed to call my bosses.
I've spent the past day feeling a lot of things, and also marveling at my coworkers and friends, and thinking about how a tragedy brought out the best in all of us -- the good memories, the people that are rocks, the people that nurture, the people that are good with words -- all for someone so gentle and kind.
I've experienced death so many ways -- being in the room when my grandmother took her last breath, the death of my mother, the murder of a classmate, the untimely death of friends, the long and drawn-out diseases that robbed people of their identities. But no death perplexes me more than the coworker death (and I've experienced a few). People who are a blend of stranger, acquaintance, friend, teammate, (nemesis), mentor, and peer. You never realize what a fixture they are in your life until they are no longer there.
Right now we can only speculate as to how my coworker passed away, but we know how she lived -- with joy, with humor, with gusto. We all had such fond memories of her inside the walls of the office. Some of us were even luckier to have memories of her during happy hours and other gatherings.
On a more personal note, she helped me greatly when Spike was diagnosed with diabetes. She helped me understand the disease and reassured me that I wasn't doing everything wrong (as I often felt I was doing everything wrong). She was always good for a bit of silliness and a giggle or a laugh. And when she listened, she really listened.
I know you all are going to try and support me as I grieve my friend and for as much as I appreciate your words of support, I would prefer an action of support: think of all your friends that live alone and reach out to them. Give them a call, let them know you care. Be present in their lives. Choose to gentle and kind with others.
Get your blood glucose levels tested.
And if you really want to, donate a few bucks to the American Diabetes Association.