People come and go in my life, like passengers on a subway. We share a small piece of our lives until opportunity, circumstance, or chance steers us to another train. I’m used to it, and I’m not. I know it happens, then it does, and I get over it.
I’ve been really lucky. It’s been a pleasure to share my ride with most of the people I’ve bumped into along the way.
Pat was one of those people. She was an old hand when I started my career in state government. She was gracious answering questions. She was understanding when I needed to vent. She was my friend.
She was my audience when I needed reassurance before delivering a best man’s toast. She was my accomplice when stress and/or a pizza jones struck. She was there with me that day in court when it was an effort to move, listening to second and third hand reports as the country pressed pause to deal with shock and horror.
She retired years ago and we haven’t spoken since. The closest we’ve come is Christmas cards crossing in the mail. Many people have come and gone since, and I don’t think about her much any more, besides the brief updates around the holidays. But I am today, having learned she passed away on Tuesday.
Its hard to say what I feel. She was one of the people who left an impression, even though we shared a ride for a brief time. But it’s not loss I feel. It’s not regret either. Life takes people in different directions. Friends come and go, even if it’s easier for me to count them all than some.
Although I feel sad for the family I never met (it just seemed like I had), I feel thankful. I had a friend when I needed one. I feel hopeful. Every day is an opportunity to enrich someone’s life, no matter how brief the opportunity.