At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, I was watching underpriviledged youth receive their high school graduation stoles for a program called FACES for the Future, a program that I had helped to initiate three years ago through my job as the Grants Officer for Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego. The audience was brought to tears when one of the graduating Seniors declared that the program had saved her life by helping her avoid a gang lifestyle that is prominent in her neighborhood. I was moved.
At 10:15 p.m. that same night, my husband's cell phone rang. I recognized a familiar tone in his voice indicating that one of his good friends was on the other end of the line. His friend was delivering bad news. Very bad news. Also at 6:30 that night, our friend had been struck by a car while riding his bicycle on a seemingly safe bike path along route 56. He was killed instantly. Struck from behind, the accident happened too fast for him to get out of harm's way. A freak accident. A freak accident that leaves his lovely wife a widow and the single mom of their two kids....who are the same age as mine. Rest in peace, sweet Nick.
I could not help but think of the irony in these to occurrences that night. Underpriviledged youth just starting their lives, lives that have been turned around and changed forever....to a good friend of mine, losing his. I remember Nick and Deb's wedding. I remember how happy they were...I know how happy he made another good friend of mine, Andrew, who was his college roommate and one of my husband's very closest friends. Sincere I think is how I would best describe Nick. Just an all around nice guy....as is his wife.
To be a widow around age 40 is something I cannot even fathom. Deb had wanted Steve and I to hear of Nick's passing from Andrew. I was very touched that she even thought of us in a time like that. I emailed her right away and will call this weekend. I want her to know that I am thinking of her.
I hope that my cancer journey has helped me to know what to do.... I have learned that calling is better than not calling. Support will come and go. Anything I can do to help make her smile is good. Even if I can put a twinkle in her eye for a split second, I am helping. These things I know....because in my most dark hours, these things are what I needed.
Now is my chance to give back.....
As I go to bed tonight, my thoughts are truly with Deb. I hope someone is staying at the house with her. I envision her and her kids all sleeping in one bed. I envision her getting up in the middle of the night to cry in the other room so as to not to wake her sleeping angels. And I know Nick is watching over them all.
And as I go to bed tonight, I will go look in on my sleeping angels, thankful for all my many blessings...and at this time especially, thankful that my cancer journey has taught me what to do in times of tragedy.