It was a depressing week for me. Last weekend, two of my friends passed away.
On March 14, a schoolmate, Liezl, passed away after an 8-year long battle with cancer. Although she was not a close friend, the students in my high school treated each other as sisters (it was an exclusive girls' Catholic school). I could only imagine the pain her children were going through. Her passing was not sudden, and there was time for the family to accept her illness, however I know it would still be painful. Memories of me beside my dad's hospital bed, watching him convulse and die came alive in my mind. It was a memory I try so hard to forget. Liezl was 47 when she died. She is survived by her husband, her two daughters and her son.
The following day, March 15, I was alerted by my husband's "Oh no!!!" while he was reading his Facebook feed. I checked on what was going on and he pointed to the computer monitor. My husband told me, "I may be wrong but I think Lloyd died. Can you please read this and tell me it is not what I think it is?" But it WAS true. My good friend Lloyd, a former workmate, passed away. Now that hit me. He was just recently posting pictures. He just celebrated his 46th birthday last January. How can he be dead?
I paid my last respects to Lloyd last Thursday morning. I was walking towards the viewing chapel to attend the wake and I felt like I was in a different space and time. There was a sign on the door that bore his name, hitting me with the harsh reality that he has indeed passed. I spoke with the family, his wife and son. I told them how much I appreciate having him as a friend - always funny, with a positive work attitude, and a happy disposition in life. They told me that Lloyd had a failing heart, and the doctors told them that his chances of survival were slim if he had a heart attack. That was March 14. The following day, he suffered a heart attack and that was it.
I will always remember him as the funny guy in the Quality Hub of NCO-Sprint. He is the person who always introduces himself using weird names when ordering coffee at Starbucks. He'd say his name is "Fremont" and his nickname is "Free." We'd anxiously wait for the barista to announce that his drink was ready, "Cafe Americano for Free," and then we'd all rush towards the counter and ask for the "free" Cafe Americano. Then we'd all laugh our hearts out. He loves having his picture taken, sometimes in funny poses (like the one below where he uses our friend's long curly hair to make it look like it was his own). That is how I will always remember him.
Life is too short. I was walking around with the thought of, "what if it was me?" Are my children prepared? How will my husband take it? Have my friends accomplished their mission on earth that it was okay for them to part?
This is a wake up call for me. I will be thankful for each day I am alive. More smiles, more hugs, more time with family, the people who matter most in my life. I will be closer to my God and thank Him for his Providence.
My only wish... is that I could be more than a woman slaving to earn a living, stressing out over the budget, holding a mop and doing the laundry. I have to make time to love and be loved. I have to set aside a time for prayer. I have to do the things I love to do, to pause, to appreciate, to reach out and help.
With God's help, I will live life to the fullest, and I will press the start button NOW.
Rest in Peace, my friends.