My friend is dying. As in, my friend is dying right this very moment. While I sit through meeting after meeting and talk about things that are so important in the context of work, my friend is in the hospital, struggling to draw shallow breath after shallow breath. Soon the struggle will be too great, and she will literally drown in the liquid in her own lungs. Betrayed by a body that has already beaten cancer once, a body that has been absolutely ravaged by an uncaring relentless disease is now simply exhausted by the fight.
The end is coming too quickly, like the speeding bullet of an oncoming train. I know we’ve been lucky enough to have five years in remission, and still that seems like nothing in the blink of an eye. I feel like I haven’t appreciated her being around enough. I haven’t told her how grateful I am to have a friend who is as loud as I am, who loves flashy jewelry like I do, whose laughter matches my own for free spirited release. Our working together dwindled to lunches together, dwindled to sitting together, grinding up pain meds to put into pudding because she cannot swallow them.
And with a phone call, before I can even finish this blog post, she is gone.
I’ve had a mini-breakdown in the stairwell. It’s all I can do to compose myself for the rest of the day’s meetings. The world has lost an amazing person; her family has lost a loving wife and mother; and I have lost a friend. It’s a big hole that will take an incredibly long time to fill.
I know I will need to learn how to move on. We’ll survive this. But not now. For now, I’m going to say it’s okay to break down and sob uncontrollably, to lose my shit because I’m not yet able to process this loss. I’m giving myself permission to mourn my friend and others who were touched by her life.
Godspeed, Nancy. I will remember you with laughter and love.