This morning began a nightmare of a day. I found out that my dear friend, Erica (a.k.a. Jane from my ranting-to-the-insurance-company blog posting) passed away yesterday.
(While it may not technically be appropriate to light a Yahrzeit candle for a friend who has just passed, I needed to light one in honor of my father anyway, and having it represent both of them just felt right.)
Erica and I had been friends since college; her dorm room was right across from mine. I waited to move to California until AFTER her wedding. She was IN my wedding party. We’d sporadically kept in touch after we’d both moved away from Maryland, and when I found out she was especially ill, I made a point to stop to see her last month during the Great College Tour trip. Little did I realize that visit would be the last time I’d get to see her.
Erica had battled Pancreatic Cancer (the same kind Steve Jobs had) for years. A couple of weeks ago, she finally got the liver transplant she so desperately needed. And she actually felt better than she had in a long time! She even got to go home, although it was a brief stay since complications from the surgery developed.
We had a lot in common. We both were science fiction geeks. She became a science librarian; I used to work as a programmer in a library. She was a Botany major; I should have been a Horticulture major. We both loved oddball weirdnesses in language and taxonomy. And Elton John’s music. And flowers.
Erica had written to me a while back asking if I could send her pictures of my rose garden so she could look at something pretty since she couldn’t get outside anymore. I sent a few. I wish I’d sent more.
If there is anything I could impart to my loved ones, it’s to make the most of The Present, and to not solely think about The Future. We don’t have a clue of what the future holds, and it’s vital to cherish every moment we have with our loved ones while we have them. Make the time to see or at least talk to those you care about. Make amends with those with whom you might be estranged. Going to their funerals is too late.
RIP my friend. I’ll miss you terribly.