Early this morning I learned that my friend had passed away yesterday. The last time I had spoken to her was on New Year's day and it was via text. I'd said I would come visit her this summer.
I had a gut feeling that she was not well. She had been in and out of the hospital lots last year, but she never wanted anyone to know how sick she really was. When we'd been exchanging text messages about how our holidays were, she had mentioned she was sick Christmas day. Again, I ignored that pang of worry I'd felt. I didn't want to ask if she didn't want to talk about it, and I wanted to be naive and believe that she was fine.
In early January, I decided to deactivate my Facebook as I'd felt it was eating too much of my time and causing too much unnecessary strain on my mental well-being: see FOMO (fear of missing out). Looking back, as good as that felt for me, I realise now that it was how my friend and I interacted most of the time. I can't say that it was the best way, but it was easiest to keep in touch with her via that (evil) social network than it was to pick up the phone. This realisation fills me with so much regret. I could have texted her more. I could have tried to call or Skype her. I could also have sent her a Christmas card. I feel like a rotten friend.
I'm an extremely sensitive person - I cry watching movies, I cry over the loss of people I don't even know, I cry at almost everything - but I think it's a testament to how much my friend had touched my life that I am as upset as I am this morning. In truth, we were not super close - not in the best friends context - but we did share a certain bond. She was so funny, so full of spirit, and she always made me feel like I never had to apologise for who I was.
I'd first met my friend in 2007 after she'd come back from an extensive injury: I'd been subbing for her while she was on sick leave. At first I didn't know how to read her, but it didn't take long at all to understand her sense of humour and realise what a compassionate person she was. Even after I had left that office and the sister company, we still met up for lunch once in a while. She moved away two summers ago and I'd not seen her since. I regret not making an effort to visit her sooner. She always asked how I was doing and she always wanted to know what was new in my life. She was so selfless and caring.
It's true what they say about not knowing what you had until you've lost it. I didn't realise how much of an imprint my friend had left in my life in the few short years I'd known her. There were so few times I saw her without a smile. I will always remember her great laugh. I will always remember how she pulled me out from my office one day to run across the street to where Trevor Linden was having lunch. I will always remember how much she loved Alex Burrows and the Canucks. I will always remember the love she had for her two horses, Nitro and Silver, who I never got to meet. I will always remember how much she loved her dogs Logan and Reilly. I will always remember how excited she was to leave her office job and live away from the city on her own piece of land with Frank and with all the animals she loved.
I will always remember you, Melissa.