I lost a friend very unexpectedly this week. Not that any of us at my age (mid 40's) EXPECTS to lose someone. And not that that person was expecting it either. But its just so much of a shock when things like this happen that your brain can't quite wrap itself around the fact that a person can up and die and leave behind a family, friends and so many unrealized hopes and dreams and then life and everyone they left behind has to go on without them.
The circumstances of my friends death are not entirely clear yet. She was having some health issues and had been in and out of the hospital over the past week. But there didn't seem to be any indication that things couldn't be fixed. Until they couldn't. And she was gone. Just like that. Here one day, gone the next.
She left behind several young adult children who are of course much more devastated than I am. They have lost their mother. The one who was supposed to be there to guide them through the still difficult years of youth. To hold her children's babies, to soothe them when they are crying, and to watch them grow into adults as she grew into old age.
How many times can I yell at the universe that life isn't fair? Asking why a life has to be cut short when there was so much more to do? Surely the sole purpose of my friend's life was not a lesson for the rest us that if we don't get our shit together the same thing could happen to us. She was much more than that.
As I go back and read the things that she had been writing about recently, I realized I was not going to find any clues that she knew this was coming. If any of us knew tragedy was on the horizon we would certainly change the way we were living our last moments. Get our ducks in a row, heal old wounds, take that vacation we've been putting off, buy ourselves that pair of shoes we've been eyeing. Because we would know that life was indeed shorter than we think and we better enjoy what we have and fix whats broken right now because no matter who you are, we all come with an expiration date. And the thought we always have tomorrow to do or fix what we want may not come.
My heart is beyond sad. She and I shared a lot in common. We both had oldest sons named Chris. Who both went into the Air Force to become crew chiefs for F-16 fighter jets. They both had sons (our first grandchildren) within a year of each other. We also both had 2 daughters of similar ages. We were both remarried with step kids (I had 2, she had one). And we both loved to write and maintained a blog (Hers: http://delswife-stories.blogspot.com/).
She was a much better writer than I was. So much more funny and the words seemed to roll off her fingers with much less effort than it took me. She loved Disney as much as I do and in an ironic twist, she died on Walt's birthday. She wrote REAL trip reports (not just a bunch of pictures strung together with a few words) that kept you laughing out loud and coming back for more. Her first report seen here without the original pictures as they got lost a few years back and she never got around to fixing them: http://www.abbycandlesmi.com/delswife_trip_report.pdf was what started some of her popularity. I met many people and good friends because of her and I cannot express the how grateful I am for her to have touched my life.
I wish I could reach out and ease the pain her family must be going through. Because if I am as sad as am, nothing but a casual acquaintance who spent just a small portion of my life interacting with her, I cannot imagine the depth to the sorrow of the people who spent daily lives with her, knowing her, loving her... having her enrich their lives with her humor, kindness and ability to see the best in people and in life no matter what the circumstances.
All I can say is:
Robin... you will be missed more than you ever imagined possible.
There will be a emptiness where you used to be that no one else will ever be able to fill in quite the same way that you did.
Love You , Mean It