I learned that a friend of mine died today.
Not a close friend, really, but a friend nonetheless.
She was someone that started around the same time as me at the D.A.'s Office, although I think she hired on just a little bit before I did. I'm not going to write her name here because I don't want this to be something that pops up if someone looks up her name on Google. I'm not trying to hide who I'm talking about from those of us who knew her. If you worked within the CJC in the past 20 years, you will doubtlessly know who I am talking about.
I learned of her passing through a random text message. She died on January 3rd. I feel kind of like a shitty friend for only learning about it today.
When we were prosecutors together, I only knew her in passing. She was really pretty. I mean, she was really really pretty. I was kind of scared to talk to her back then, all things considered.
But life dealt her a series of really bad hands. She lost loved ones through extremely tragic circumstances. She left the D.A.'s Office and life kind of went downhill for her. Through no fault of her own, she seemed to keep getting the raw end of the deal on thing after thing. I would hear about these things and my heart always hurt for her. She was a nice person and she didn't deserve the shit hands that she kept being dealt.
Around the time of Hurricane Harvey, she called me up and asked me to help somebody that she cared about. I was kind of surprised that she called me. She said she called me because I had always been kind to her, and she thought I might be willing to help. The person she was asking me to help was someone who hadn't been particularly kind to her, but she asked me to help him anyway.
And I did. Quite frankly, I was flattered that she asked me to help. It felt good to hear someone say that they thought that they could ask me for help because they thought I was a kind person. In the big scheme of things, I think we all underestimate the value of a person regarding us as "kind."
A few months after helping out that person, I ran into her on a street corner.
She was a mess.
But she smiled when she saw me. She gave me a hug. She said she owed me a lunch. I told her I would take her up on that.
It was the last time I ever saw her.
I'm absolutely sick to learn of her passing. She was my age. Like me, she had two sons.
She was a sweet, sweet person.
I don't know the circumstances of her passing, although I have my suspicions.
I can't help but think about the fact that she was willing to pick up the phone and ask for help when someone she cared about needed help, but she didn't do so when she needed help herself.
She was a far kinder person than I could ever hope to be.
But in retrospect, her telling me that I was kind may have been one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me.
Especially coming from someone like her.
And I'll pass that message along.
In our daily lives, there is so much we cannot control. But we can always choose whether or not we handle any given situation with the best level of kindness that we can muster.
I'm extremely aware of the fact that on most days, I don't do that.
I need to do better. I'll try to do better.
You should too.
Life is short.
In retrospect, knowing that someone thought that of you will mean more than you could ever know.