I received word tonight of a colleague’s terminal diagnosis. Of how they’re not discussing treatment. Of how there are no months or years, just days.
We’re not close, we’ve never even met. But I like her. She’s kind, responsive, and possesses a crisp New England accent that makes me both smile and pay attention when I hear it.
I envisioned her as tall and willowy. I don’t even know if that’s true.
I wish we’d met.
I wish I knew how I’ll grieve someone I never quite knew.
It’s like that, isn’t it?
Working, blogging, connecting. We form ‘relationships’ with people we don’t know; we grow to count on them and they on us. We learn the inflection in their laugh, how they sign their emails a particular way, and the sorts of things we differ on. We learn who they are without ever meeting.
Her name is Susan.
And I am struggling to understand how not knowing her can make me weep even more.
“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince