Jan 22, 2006

January 22

5 years ago today marked a dividing line in my life. A clear before and after. It was a snowy Tuesday morning in Boston when I was sitting in "Law of Start-Up Technologies" and decided to go home in between the end of this class and my next. I wasn't sure why, just felt like I should. I drove down Beacon Street and passed a mass of firetrucks. I made it safely home, checked my computer and received an immediate IM from L. "Have you heard from Heather? She was supposed to be getting her SCUBA certification in Manila today. Lindy has left me several messages on my machine saying I have to call her back. I'm worried she had another asthma attack or something."

Heather had enrolled in SCUBA class at Emory but they kicked her out because of her history of asthma. It was a long-time goal of hers to be certified, and I was proud that she was finally going to be allowed to do it in the liability-free Philippines. I briefly worried, but then 5 minutes later L called to say Heather had died. Not from an asthma attack underwater but in a wreck on her way to the ocean. I stepped outside my basement apartment and kicked at the snow while trying to wrap my mind around the news. I remember saying, "What?" a lot.

I didn't cry until 3 days after that moment, back in Atlanta when we brought her casket into the house. It was a relief to finally produce tears. Heather is among the people in my life I will call my closest friends; she was family. Through many ups and downs over the past 5 years, I've come to realize that January 22 is a great day to be thankful not only for the time I spent with Heather but for the time I get to spend with everyone I love. I'm a lucky lady.

1 comment:

CCHarmony said...

How sad . . . she must have been special. You never forget a day like this, no matter how many years pass and it's nice to stop and honor the person like you are doing.