A coworker was killed in a car accident last night.
She was young and vibrant, not unlike myself.
We were not particularly close, but we were very friendly. She worked in our local office, so I saw her more frequently than most. A few months ago, we had a long conversation. I was in the office, showing her my wedding photos. She was complimentary ("You are still glowing!"), as she always was, and inquired coyly if my brother was single. That day, she peppered me with questions about my relationship with J.
"I hope you don't mind me asking you so much," she said, smiling. "Someday, we'll have drinks and I will tell you my story."
She was ebullient outwardly, but I always sensed there were dark issues she dealt with privately. It always seemed as if it were a struggle to be happy, and she put on a brilliant show. I wish I had known her better. I wish we had gone out for those drinks.
In times like these, when someone so young dies so suddenly, I am haunted by thoughts of their last days, weeks, months. I wonder, what would she have done differently, knowing she had mere months, weeks, days to live? I shudder at the thought of my own life being snatched away in an instant. So I drive slowly and carefully. Recommit myself to a life with purpose. Reach out to friends. Vow to be a better wife and daughter and sister. Stop screening calls.
Like life, these resolutions are fleeting. Next week, I'll be late for an appointment, speeding again. I won't answer my grandmother's call because I will be too busy. I'll snap at my husband. I wonder why it seems impossible to hold on to this feeling, this combination of sorrow mixed with grief, and also pure joy, because we are alive and we can hug our loved ones, and have another girls' dinner, take another vacation, watch another Adam Sandler movie.
Rest in peace, Donna. I hope, wherever you are, you are happy.