I found out that a close friend of mine passed away on Thursday due to a massive stroke. I was shocked, grief-stricken, and immediately felt the loss of not being able to see my friend ever again. I had a lot of work to do on Thursday and Friday, so when a wave of grief subsided my energy turned to focus on my work. When I wasn't working however, my mind would drift back to the loss of my friend.
Saturday morning, I awoke thinking of my friend and imagining writing to her. I didn't do it. I attempted to get work done. Not to be. I was a puddle. All the feelings that I put away on Thursday and Friday so I could work bubbled up and enveloped me.
However, I had a lot to do, so the self-talk came that said, “Now put your feelings aside and get some work done.”
That wasn't to happen. Resolution and relief finally came when I accepted my state and allowed myself to be a puddle without any attempt at working—just accepting myself for where I was, without trying to change myself, just being with my grief. Then, the idea resurfaced that emerged when I awakened. I sat down and wrote a tribute to my friend and put it on my Facebook page. I felt immediate relief.
Here's what I wrote after I gave myself permission to appreciate where I was:
A Tribute to Jan: (written to her as if she can hear this)
Your life has been a gift to me and to many. You will be remembered for your big heart, ability to see people and support them to develop their potential, your love of life, unending exuberance, willingness to speak your truth, to love deeply, to laugh heartily, to see the humor in life and all things, to not take yourself too seriously, to believe in yourself, to trust yourself and support others to do likewise, your perceptiveness, intelligence, humor, vision, ability to make things happen, to be a great mother, friend, daughter and much much more.
My dear friend, I love you and already miss you. It was my honor and privilege to work with you doing The Human Element at NASA for so many years. That you trusted me and invited me to create the Follow On to The Human Element was and is something I will always cherish.
Our friendship grew over the years and even more after you retired. You were and will always be an inspiration for me to love, laugh, live life fully, and to turn lemons into lemonade—without complaints.
I celebrate you and your life. If there is a there there, I'll see you there.”