Someone I know - someone I knew - died last night. I hesitate to call her a friend; as currency that word has lost value lately from casual overuse. We weren't close. We both spent the week at the summer event which is one of the touchstones of my year, and in the normal way of things we would have seen each other - and worked together - at the event I missed last weekend due to a virus and she missed due to being close to death. But we didn't call or write between such events, and she wasn't the first one I looked for on my arrival.
Still, we knew each other.
We shared experiences.
We were part of the same village - a village with no basis in geography.
I find myself wishing I had known her better. Our village has been assembled around her for the past 3 months, not on an actual green but in those modern electronic substitutes of CaringBridge and Facebook. They work well in circumstances such as these. We came together to offer support, and now we are coming together to grieve.
I didn't know her as well as I could have. And now it's too late. And yet, from all the tributes, I feel as if I am getting to know her more - or getting to know of her, at least. Which makes me sadder for missed opportunities.
The lesson keeps coming back, again and again. From the recent insane shooting in Tucson. From this latest cancer death. She wasn't even 50. Her husband is the third man I know who has lost his wife to cancer in the past 9 months.
Take nothing for granted.
Take no one for granted.
Tell people you love them.
Tell them they are important to you.
Spend time with them.
Look at them.
Really look at them.
Sear their images on your brain.
Your whole world could change in any instant.
And then they'd be gone.