I was tricked by a smile.
I was fooled by optimistic words.
I let myself be wooed by a familiar laugh.
Which makes the loss so much more confusing.
I found out she died by the CallerID of a mutual friend. I hadn’t chatted with my friend on the phone in a while, and when I cheerily greeted her, I heard the sadness over the line. I knew the purpose of the call before I knew the purpose of the call.
She was gone.
A wife, a mom, a woman who slayed cancer twice and made me – and so many others – think she could do it a third time.
It doesn’t matter how close you are or are not to someone when they die so young, or whether you even knew them at all. The unfairness of it is awful. What it can do to the recesses of your mind is befuddling.
I imagine hundreds of befuddled people to be walking around today, wondering what the hell just happened.
I have a tendency to compartmentalize, to put things on a shelf until I can deal with them. I did it yesterday, this morning, but now I am alone. In a silent house. Wondering about how I didn’t see it coming. Discovering I somehow knew it was coming.
My heart breaks for her little boys who will grow up not knowing the way she could bring people together, the naughtiness of her smirk, the generosity of her spirit.
My brain is dizzied by the wonder of how her husband can even stand up with all this pain in his heart.
And I keep hearing her voice saying: If you only had 10 years left, how would you live it?
I will sit with this question for now. I will hold it close as I don black clothes, tuck tissues in a purse, pay my respects at her funeral service, hug those deeply entwined in her life and those who met her only once but were affected by all she can do to a person.
I will lay in bed feeling thankful for my breath, my family, and fully absorb the lessons, the reminders that death deals out.
I will look inside for my answer to her question.
I will find a shred of good in the sadness of the world unfairly losing another young mother before her time. Way before her time.