Up until this year, I have been blessed and fortunate enough not to have lost a close (human) friend or relative. (For me, the notation is important. I have lost pets that I was very close to, but that is a different experience.)
And then in the span of one month, I lost two.
My co-worker and friend Colleen passed away in March after a short and unexpected battle with lung cancer. It is still surreal to me; some days I fully expect that she will walk back into the office like nothing ever happened. Colleen was awesome and I feel so lucky to have known her. She had a great laugh, was fiercely devoted to her family and had great passion for her work and a real zest for life. And she was, without doubt, the best dresser I have ever known.
Several weeks later, my Grandma passed away after a long and painful battle with cancer, so it was in some ways a relief to know that her suffering had come to an end. But like all families, ours had its issues and during the later years of her life, my Grandma was not the same person to me that I known and loved as a child. I found it hard to remember the good things. Then unexpectedly, at her passing, the good memories came rushing back. I am so grateful for that, and so grateful for a random “water-cooler” conversation with a co-worker. His father-in-law was near death, and he shared with me that he was having a similar experience with suddenly being able to remember the good things.
While these past few months have been difficult and painful, I have experienced many touching and heart-warming moments as well. Life is truly mysterious and wonderful if you open yourself up to those small moments that make it worth living.