A very close friend of mine died last week. Linda had fallen into a coma on Christmas Eve and never woke up.
I think it’s different if someone knows he’s dying. If you know, you have time to say goodbye, hug your friends, and tie up all those pesky loose ends. But when you get taken suddenly, those of us left behind feel robbed.
Linda was my friend. She was strong and kind, funny and thoughtful. She loved reading Erma Bombeck and telling terrible, terrible puns. She liked to torture me with those puns.
Every few months we’d email each other with a flurry of letters and catch up on what had been going on in our lives. I tried not to bug her over the holidays though. Christmas was a big deal for her. It was her favorite time of year, and she loved to fill her house with Christmas.
I can only imagine what she’d been up to right before she fell asleep for the last time. I guarantee you she’d probably been a whirling dervish trying to get everything ready for the big day—especially for her grand kids. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for those kids. I got to know them through her.
We lived miles apart but you’d never know it by how we kept in touch, especially when it mattered. When Tank died, she sent me the most beautiful frame with his picture in it. It said: “Thanks for everything. I had a wonderful time.”
Even today, years later, it tugs at my heart when I see it. It makes me think of her and Tank and how lucky I was to have them in my life.
Linda came to visit me once. She made a rag toy for a certain baby border collie and hugged on Tank like they were old friends. She was happiest just poking around the homestead, collecting eggs and petting rabbits.
This year, a few days before Christmas, I got her annual Christmas newsletter detailing everything that had happened to her family in 2021. It’s sitting in front of me now, my last piece of her.
It makes me sad. I lost my friend. And I never got to say goodbye.
I love you Linda. I’m going to miss our conversations and your terrible puns.
If you love someone, tell them. Tomorrow is never promised.