11 days ago, in the middle of the night, Nugget woke up for his middle of the night bottle feeding. And like most nights, I will play on my phone while I am feeding him to help me stay awake. It was then that I saw a post that my friend was tagged in. It was her husband posting that she had passed away after a 4 year battle with cancer. It stung and I cried in the silence in the middle of the night. I never got to say goodbye.
I had first met K almost 6 years ago when she applied to work at the store I was a manager of. During the group interview, she stood out. She just had a pleasant attitude and a smile that could light up a room. The store manager and I hired her. She became one of my favorite employees to work with. She always had a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances. She was always smiling and always talked about her boyfriend (who eventually became her husband). She was just someone you wanted to be around. After hubby and I bought our home and moved, I left my management job and started back working in the financial industry. Even though we didn’t work together anymore, we kept in touch with lunch dates at Chipolte. She was someone I wanted as a friend because she made me a better person and she was a true, genuine friend, something that seems to be rare now a days.
4 years ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I remember being devastated when I found out. She was so young, had her whole life ahead of her and I just didn’t understand why something so horrible could happen to someone so wonderful. Several months after her diagnosis, we were texting back and forth as I was planning my wedding and wanted her and her boyfriend there to celebrate with us. We had plans for me to bring her lunch but they fell through as she was suffering from a horrible migraine and we talked of planning for another day. That day never happened. She moved out of state for a while for treatment and we kept in touch through Facebook. She was always so positive and strong, I only wish I could have a fraction of her strength.
Over the summer, she had been weighing heavily on my heart and I reached out to her to see how she was doing. I let her know what an encouragement she was to me and she said this to me:
“I am not perfect at staying positive. There have been many times over the last few years when I wanted to give up and it probably would’ve been easier. But I always think about those around me and who I am doing this for and it gives me strength to keep going.”
She had told me she was coming back home and I told her to let me know when she was home because I missed her and wanted to come visit her. She said she would and she missed me too. We briefly talked again in September and I asked how she was doing and she said she was doing pretty good, but just needed to find something to do. And right there, I dropped the ball. I never responded back because the weekend we last messaged was Labor Day weekend and it was a busy weekend with my husband and kids. I thought of her after that, but was always so caught up in the craziness of my life, that I never stopped to take a few minutes out of my day to text her back and make plans to see her. Even though I had every pure intent of wanting to see her, I never acted on my intent. And just like that, she is gone.
I dropped the ball. And even though I know she would never hold it against me, I hold it against myself. That I didn’t take the time and make the effort to visit her. It has forced me to think of all the people in my life that I miss, that are still here and that I still have the opportunity to see. It makes me think about my intent with my husband and our dates night we always talk about but never do. Or the play dates and places I want to take my kids but let chores, work and life get in the way. I have every good intention of spending time with those I love, but what is a good intent if I don’t act on it?
God does not promise us time. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not promised today. I don’t know if when I kiss my husband and kids goodbye in the morning if I will see them in the evening. Because it only takes one moment, to change your life. Now I am not saying that we should live our lives in fear, afraid that we will never see the ones we love again. But what I am saying is to be intentional with those you love around you, while they are here. Re-prioritize your time, your schedule, your agenda. Make the time. Just make the time.