A friend of mine died yesterday, my Aunt Becky died the day before (the last of that generation on my side of the family) and within the past couple of weeks, four high school friends have lost a parent.
On top of that, today is my birthday, the first one since my mom died.
Naturally, I'm writing a blog post. I need to get my thoughts sorted out, and this is where I do it. It's my therapy.
Marilyn, my friend who died yesterday morning, checked herself into the hospital a couple of weeks ago. According to her post on Facebook - from the hospital - she had googled her symptoms and thought she was just dehydrated.
It turned out she had sepsis, plus a few other issues. They put her right into ICU and sedated her so she wouldn't fight the ventilator they put in place to keep her airway open.
So that was her last post.
In it she mentioned being a little worried because she was the sole breadwinner (her husband is disabled) and she had already used up all of her sick days at her new job by having the flu the week before. But as usual, the post ended on a positive note, putting her trust in God to sort things out. She hoped to be back at work in a few days.
I hope my last Facebook post ends on a positive note.
I first met Marilyn in the summer after 4th grade at a summer school creative writing workshop. I'm not sure if we ever actually spoke... I was really shy ... but she made an impression on me. We went to junior high and high school together, but I still really didn't know her back then.
Fast forward a few decades when, thanks to the miracle of Facebook, we reconnected and discovered we had both escaped to the Texas Hill Country. She only lived a couple of hours away.
Still, we only saw each other a handful of times after that. First, at one of our Shake Russell house concerts, then at another classmates' house who lived just a few miles away. It turned out they went to the same church and didn't even realize it.
She made it back out to my house for a surprise birthday party for another classmate. It was an official Deer Park Diva gathering.
Then we met up at the Keller Williams Mega Camp in Austin in 2014. We were both new agents. In fact, she made the decision right before I did and was a huge influence on my own decision.
We helped each other through the tough times of starting our own businesses. Well, I think she helped me more than I helped her. She was great at listings, and was always there if I needed an ear or some advice. I was surprised when she made the decision to leave real estate a few months ago, but she felt, for her family's sake, she needed a regular paycheck and regular hours.
It seems surreal to me that she's gone. Granted, she had some medical issues I wasn't aware of, but that's because she was always so positive and energetic. So full of life. She never complained about anything and was always quick to help anyone in need.
I regret I didn't know her better when we were younger, but I'm grateful I had a chance to get to know her before it was too late. I also regret we didn't follow through on our many intentions of getting together again, but I'm grateful that we did see each other a few times, and I'm very grateful for the ease of communication these days, despite distances, via Facebook or email or text messaging or phone calls.
Please keep her family in your prayers. From what I understand, Marilyn took care of everything. Her husband will be lost for quite awhile. And Marilyn, the youngest of three sisters, was still mourning the death of the middle sister from cancer. Now within a few months, the eldest has lost both of her younger sisters. I can't imagine that heartbreak.
Because I knew that Marilyn worked so hard for her family, I started a Go Fund Me page. I felt it was the best way to help her, and now I feel it's the best way to honor her memory. If you'd like to contribute, just click on the link.
But now back to my birthday tomorrow. While I still think of it as a gift that I've somehow made it to 58, especially when so many of my classmates have already passed away, I'm starting to think of it as more than that. It's an assignment. We are here for a reason, to somehow make this world better, even if it's just day by day.
Marilyn did. Not in a big production, but in the way she lived, the way she loved, the way she gave. She straddled each hurdle with a smile on her face and kept going, full of faith in God and others. We may not always see the big picture, but I think if we just focus on the little picture, of being as kind, positive, and helpful as possible, the big picture falls into place.
Do small things with great love. ~
St. Theresa of Calcutta