Last October, I had a friend who died. Jennifer had been battling a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is a very ugly, horrible, no good thing. Because there is no cure for PF, it only gets worse over time, and eventually makes it impossible for its victim to breath. Without a lung transplant, there is really no hope for long term survival.
But Jennifer was one of the very, very lucky ones. She got a lung transplant. She got better. And she loved those lungs so much, she even gave them names: Bob and Tom.
But then, Jennifer got sick again. And 9 months after Bob and Tom came into her life, Jennifer died.
Yesterday was Jennifer's birthday. Now let me tell you, this friend of mine, she LOVED birthdays. Well, to be honest, she just loved any excuse to get people together, laugh, eat, laugh, swap stories and have fun. Jennifer was the kind of person who did everything BIG. Her voice was big, her laugh was big, and her presence? She was not the kind of person who went unnoticed. My friend was the definition of someone who was "living life to it's fullest".
Yesterday, I felt sad when I thought about Jennifer. I felt sad that she will never have another birthday, or eat Mexican food or watch a sunset. I felt sad that she won't get to watch her son graduate from college or grow old with her husband, hold a grandchild in her arms.
But then, I started to feel something else. Thankful, maybe? Thankful that her sweet husband had reminded us that it was Jennifer's birthday. Thankful that thinking about Jennifer forced me to think about myself and my own life; like, really think about it for once. I thought about how many times, each and every day, I'm either too disappointed about something, or too worried about someone, or too annoyed at everything.
And then I thought about what Jennifer would say about all that. What she would say to me today. About disappointment and worry and being annoyed.
On this day. Her birthday.
And then I just sat and thought about Jennifer for a really long time. And I still felt sad, but there was some happy mixed in there, too.
Thanks for the birthday gift, my friend.