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I can’t believe it’s been five years already, but it has.
A few years ago I had occasion to meet someone on a regular basis, daily, for several weeks.
We were both going through some hard times, each fighting off some pretty harsh demons, as it were, and as we sat there, over time, each going through our own battles, we became friends. Her name was Cecily, and as the days turned into weeks, our conversations deepened, and we talked about our families, and challenges, and the struggles we were facing and overcoming.
It turns out that our opportunities to meet each other daily ended about the same time, and we kept in touch for a long time afterwards. On rare occasions, we’d meet at a Jamba Juice on checkup days for all their healthy things and just catch up on life. It was neat doing that, meeting near a place that had both caused and absorbed so much of our pain, and not having to actually go there. We talked, and we laughed. I remember for awhile she talked about her sisters and how they were helping her get a bunch of firewood for the winter.
It was a good time, just chatting.
Sometimes, when we couldn’t actually get together, we’d call or email, and just chat and check up on each other, again, asking about the families and getting back to work, and just life…
And that was fun, too.
But one day I realized an email I’d sent hadn’t been answered in awhile…
And phone calls were going to voice mail.
I left message after message, and got no answer on her office phone.
And then that stopped, too.
Over the course of several months, I tried and tried, and finally decided to simply call her main office number and get the main switchboard there, to see if I could find out why she wasn’t answering her phone. I talked to a very nice receptionist who clearly had very little history with the company, and I asked for Cecily.
She checked, and I heard my heart beating louder in my ears as she said, “I’m sorry, there’s no one here by that name…”
But I wasn’t going to give up, so I tried her cell phone…
And kept trying.
Then they stopped going to voice mail even on the cell phone, and went to the dreaded recording of “The number you have called has been disconnected or is no longer in service…”
I did the thing I didn’t want to do, facing what was becoming a reality, and found out why she wasn’t answering her phone or email anymore in the last section of the paper I wanted to find her in.
Cecily, my friend, my pal, my radiation buddy, as she called me, was gone.
I found her mom’s number – it took a bit – and I talked to her for a long time. We talked about her daughter, and we talked about my friend, and it turns out that Cecily’s mom knew all about me. Cecily had talked to her mom about her friends, and I was, and am, very honored to have been one of them.
So Cecily – It’s been five years, but I still think of you, that smile, that laugh, that indomitable spirit. I’m glad to have gotten a chance to know you, and I raised a glass at Jamba Juice in your memory.