Last week I received word that a dear friend of mine from years gone by had passed away one month ago to the day. I was shocked, to say the least. And very sad. I still am.
Jan and I worked together for 4 years, spending countless hours in the same office. We had so many similar interests, yet two very different world views, which we discussed in great length. She was 20 years my senior, but I loved and respected her as a comrade and we truly were buddies. We made each other laugh, hard. Oh man, she was a riot. I still can’t believe she is gone.
Jan had an incredible sparkle about her. She had a passion for the outdoors and exploring. She loved art, photography and animals. She owned horses and a Harley. She loved her family and she loved to laugh. One summer we took a watercolor painting class together at the college at which we both worked. We were the only two in the class—it was an early morning summer school course. We had a blast! She inspired me to be creative and take chances. Her husband took me for a (ridiculously fast) ride on his Harley after work one day. What a rush! They both enjoyed life and tried to live it to the fullest. My parents still have a couch which they purchased from them second-hand. How I wish Jan could join me for a visit on that couch now.
After I moved away, we kept in touch for a while. We actually wrote long-hand letters to each other. Then there were occasional e-mails and then for some reason, even those stopped.
I still thought of her and always thought that someday we’d meet up again and greet each other warmly with a huge hug and then laughing and reminiscing would ensue. We would catch up on the last couple of decades. I’d introduce her to my husband and children and she’d show me pictures of her grandkids. We would share with each other the fabulous adventures and heartaches that we had experienced. I’d tell her about my blog and she would follow me and we’d re-establish our friendship for many years to come. But that didn’t happen. She suffered a massive stroke and her life ended.
I am sad for my loss and my heart aches for her family. But, just as I learned from her during her life, I will also learn from her death. I am now the same age that she was when we worked together. May I live my life with such passion. I will take chances, be bold and reach out to others. I don’t want to live with regrets. I have lost other friends and am often reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Personally, I trust God for my life and my eternity and will always encourage others to do the same. But I have to leave their decision in God’s hands. I am thankful for the person that He created Jan to be and will always be so thankful that our paths crossed for a season. My life was greatly enriched because of her.