I haven’t been myself. To me the world hasn’t been itself. On December 29, 2015 a close friend and colleague was killed in a car “accident”. On her way to work she had some car issues on a major Interstate and was trying to make her way to the shoulder when a Tahoe switched lanes unexpectedly, rear ended her car and that was it…. In an instant she was gone! In an instant life has changed forever.
I called my friend Cynthia’s phone the night before to discuss some issues from that day. Her son answered the phone and said she was unavailable. I said I would speak with her later. As I hung up the phone, I was disappointed that Cynthia and I had not spoken. Why didn’t I ask her son, Harry, to leave her a message to call me back? But, in true Cynthia fashion, about half and hour later, she called me back and asked “Were you looking for me?” I said I did and I dove in to why I had called. She listened, gave me some advice and then said…”Monique, I’ll call you in the morning at work. Right now I’m on my way to the Suns basketball game with my husband. We’ll talk tomorrow.” I said OK. Cynthia was always doing something, going to the Phoenix Suns games, leaving work to go catch Zumba classes, hanging out with friends….. As for the phone call, tomorrow came but that call from Cynthia never did, never will….
I got to the office in the morning and there is an IM (interoffice messaging system) which I use to wish my good mornings to everyone whom I work closely with… I IM’ed Cynthia and she wasn’t on yet. I thought that was unusual as she was always at work before I got there…. But, I shrugged it off as she’s running a little late for some reason and I’d call later. Now it’s 9am and she’s still not on the system. I ask another friend/colleague, Susie, if she knew where she was or if she had taken the day off… She didn’t know… I’d say around 10:30a-11a, Susie called me and says, “Monique, Cynthia was killed this morning…” And, then there was silence….. In that silence, I was trying to grasp or comprehend those words together in the same sentence. How could this be????
At first there was denial. I felt like I was in someone else’s dream and couldn’t wake up. I didn’t know what to say other than “You’ve got the wrong person… It can’t be her… This isn’t happening… What do you mean?” I know that I’m at work but now it doesn’t seem real. Is this really happening?? Is this real??? I know this isn’t a joke because who would be that cruel? At work, they asked if it would be better if I went home. Went home to do what? Be at home and cry and be miserable by myself. That didn’t seem to be the answer. What was the answer? What is the right answer?
SIDEBAR: Cynthia’s 61st birthday was December 13th. She had so much going on that Susie and I and Cynthia agreed to go out to brunch for her birthday on December 19th. It was a great brunch, great conversation and just all around great! She had talked about her one of the things on her bucket list. She was a great organizer and she talked me into letting her come over to my house to help me organize and declutter. She had been trying to get me to allow her to help me out with this for the longest time and I finally said yes, happily. I had been too embarrassed previously but then thought, what do I have to lose? She was happy that this was going to happen. We talked later and she said she’d charge me dinner and wine… I said that I could afford that and it was a deal. At the brunch we talked about things at work. She was the Head Mammographer in our group and had plans of stepping down, very soon/in the near future. We all shared our thoughts on that….
I shared with Cynthia and Susie that I had a near death experience where someone had run the red light and had I made the left handed turn I was about to make, even though my light was green, I would have been t-boned by someone traveling at least 50mph. ( I know that that was a run-on sentence) Anyway, the domino effect of how that had not happened made an impression on me. With all that being said, Cynthia just shrugged her shoulders. She didn’t say anything other than that shrug. I said to her “Is that it? Is that all you got?” And, with that she gave me another shrug of the shoulders. The topic changed and we all started talking about something else…. but, I wondered and wonder what did that mean??? Another friend of mine yesterday told me that she was probably just saying that that’s life…that’s how things go…I’m glad we had that time together!!!
I was avoiding this blog. I didn’t want to write about this…Cynthia’s death. But, in a way it’s cathartic… But, I must take a break. Through points in my story I was typing through tears…And, then I was angry that she has been taken away so suddenly. I want a re-do. I was that day to start again but with a different outcome. Something, anything to make that domino not fall the way it did. Now I am just exhausted. So many emotions… Now there is NO GETTING BACK!! There is only the new or different normal without my good friend Cynthia! That has been difficult to establish and will continue to be a work in progress!!! I must take from Cynthia that she was full of life and loved life and LIVED her life. I must think that her shrug might have been to say that that’s LIFE and we all MUST GO ON!!! We all must LIVE each day as if it might be our last. ENJOY this journey with those we LOVE. And, that makes LIFE worth living. Cynthia LIVED her LIFE to the fullest and so must I and so must we all!!!