The past week has been a blur…  a dear friend and colleague of mine passed away last Saturday.  The thing is, I knew it was coming.  She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I was witness to her gradual functional decline while at work over the course of a few years.  To put it bluntly, ALS sucks.

Right now, I struggle in my grief.  It’s not easy being far away from everyone else who knew her.  To everyone around me currently, she was just a co-worker with a tragic disease.  To those of us who knew her, she was a brilliant mind with a big heart for her patients.  She was the best kind of nerd and we bonded over our love for technology and other assorted nerd things (especially Harry Potter).  She had a witty and mischievous sense of humor.  She was one of those people who asked you how you were doing and took the time to actually listen – a rarity in a fast-paced work environment.  I appreciated her also for her human-ness because it was not all magic and rainbows.  The struggle with losing her independence was very real and you couldn’t help but hurt with her.

When I first heard the news, I just tried to stay as busy as I could in order to avoid the truth.  Time’s a bitch though and things start to surface.  I find that I’m rubbish at small talk lately.  When I’m still, I start to reflect a lot and then the tears come.  Most of the time, the tears end as quickly as they came.  I long to connect with those who knew her, but at the same time I avoid it because I don’t want to cry.  Messed up, right?  I’m trying to deal with things the best way I can, though.  I was talking with a couple co-workers this week and they really helped me, especially since they have either recently experienced a loss or dealt with a major loss.  I really appreciate them.

One of the things that help me cope is music.  There’a song called “Last Leaf” by OK Go that’s just beautiful, tender, and melancholy.  It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time and it felt like it was finally time to learn how to play it.  You can find it here.  I feel like this song helped me start grieving and being a little more open about what I’ve been going through.  For those of you who know me, you know how tight-lipped I can be…  that’s all starting to change since I’ve moved far away though.

I know it’s going to take me a while to process everything.  I think the memorial service will happen in May sometime.  I hope to be able to attend.  To my friend, I miss you, your generous guidance, pun-ny humor, and big heart.  You were well-loved, as evidenced by the army of people who rose up to provide daily support.  It was never out of charity, but an expression of friendship and care – that in itself was amazing to witness.  Thank you.  I hope to make you proud.