Yesterday, a friend of mine passed away. We did not see other every day, or even every month, but we're the same age and so our lives had a similar path. We met when we were single, and followed each other through dating, marriage, and motherhood. She chose to homeschool, and minimally I'd see her every spring when I'd come in to review portfolios. She contacted me recently about setting that date. And now, I will not be seeing her and joking about being a 'certifiable' teacher... and nothing seems to make much sense.
Part of what is hitting me so hard is that our lives followed a similar path. We're the same age, with children the same ages (although she has twice as many). When I look at my kids, I can't help but wonder how they would fare if this tragedy had happened to us. I want to show WB where I keep all the important documents, just to be sure he knows. And then I think about her husband and kids, and that they are actually living this horror.... and I realize just how selfish I am being.
No one likes facing their own mortality, and this is precisely what her passing has done. We have all sorts of platitudes about the gift of each day, but we all go about our lives thinking we have tons of time to do what we want, to plan for the future, to experience everything. Truth is... we have no way of knowing whether our fate is to die of old age in our sleep or to battle against cancer for years and die at 52 or to have a brain aneurysm at 41, having no idea that morning that it will be our last. For as much as we know, there is so much that we don't, and we have to rely on faith. And relying on faith in the face of something that makes no sense is not easy, and yet it is all we can do.
Unsurprisingly, I've spent the day with Garth Brooks' lyrics running through my head. I do take comfort knowing she was the type of person to live fully, and I am sure all her friends and family know how much they mean to her. I'm just really sad that they'll have to spend the rest of their lives without her constantly reminding them of what they know is true. She loved every bit of her life, and it is a real tragedy that she is no longer with us.