This weekend I was scrolling though my iPhone to find a phone number when I saw the name of my co-worker and friend Cathy. It took me off guard when I saw it because she died three weeks ago.
Cathy lost her most recent bout with cancer and passed away, she was in her mid-forties. Cathy was our HR Director and someone who became a good friend. For a couple of years we rode the same commuter train together, and were part of a group that shared a company car from the train station to our office.
We talked about all sorts of things including our families, funny work stories and American Idol. We used to go to lunch on occasion, curse the train when it was late, drink at the train station bar when it was REALLY late, and text each other if we weren’t going to be in the car that day. And there was her name in my cell phone. A reminder that I would never again send her a text, or talk to her on the phone. This the first time I’ve ever had to remove a personal contact from my phone due to death.
I remember her tearfully telling me in her office that she had to undergo treatment again. I assured her she would kick cancer’s ass like she had done twice before. Her eyes told me that she didn’t belive me, even though she expressed optimism and was preparing for the fight.
That was the last time I saw her in person.
Being in IT, it was my job to re-route her email, give access to other people, and turn off her phone. It was hard, but it felt so detached. I still feel the urge to stick my head in her office when I walk past. Her door has been closed since then though, and I’m not sure when they will deem it proper to move someone else in there. I’m just numb to it. I went to the wake, and didn’t know what to say to her husband whom I had only met once. I looked at the hundreds of photos of her around the funeral home, and watched the photo slideshow on the TV. Then I left after not really talking to anyone.
I’m not really sure why I’m writing about it now either, other than to maybe force myself to have some closure and to remind myself that cancer is a bitch. Hug your loved ones folks, we never know how much time we have.
Goodbye Cathy, you are definitely missed.