Monday, March 17, 2008

Mournful News...A Friend is Gone

I received some upsetting news today. A friend died.

She was a friend from my oil company days, a friend who served alongside me on the board of a local professional association of which we were both members, a friend whom I had not spoken with in probably five years.

She died on March 8, over a week ago, from breast cancer. Those who notified me had few details, reminding me that she was a "very private person." Which is true. It seems all of us were surprised.

She was raised in Minnesota, I believe, and often spoke to me of her family, which did seem to follow the austere, straight-up Scandinavian-origin stereotype. Privacy was a value she held dear.

Tall, blonde and blue-eyed, she spoke very distinctly, always making sure that each syllable was pronounced, and pronounced correctly.

When she and I were working together we would often meet for dinner at the Galleria after work, always choosing a table outside one of the restaurants so that we could look down at the skaters and enjoy the beauty of the place.

She told me once that she believed in reincarnation, and she even dreamed about it. One dream involved her as a little girl--I wish I could remember more. What has remained for me is this image of her peering around a corner in this dream. And she was someone else.

We traveled together once to a conference. In the airport waiting for our flight, I got up to look at the flight board. When I sat down again she said, "Katherine, you move like a dancer. So graceful." Never in my life, before or since, has anyone said anything like that to me, and I find there are tears in my eyes now as I bring it to memory.

We both served as president of the local chapter of this professional association, my term following hers. The friendships I made while serving in this organization were by far the best thing about it. I actually loved the chapter meetings, the conferences, the board meetings--all because I got to visit with such good friends. What fun we had.

My last get-together with my friend was lunch about five years ago. By that time she had moved to a different company ~ ExxonMobil ~ and had been promoted way up the corporate ladder. She looked beautiful, as always.


Having had the opportunity to know Lea fills me with gratitude, and I am deeply saddened, even disturbed, at this news of her death. I regret not keeping up. I regret not hearing of her death in time to attend a service in her memory.

Lea, I love you. Thank you for your friendship.

9 comments:

steve said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. You will be in my prayers.

RevDrKate said...

Katherine, so sorry....prayers.

Jan said...

Katherine, I am so sorry. Losing a friend, plus having regrets, are hard to bear. You miss her in correspondence to the degree you loved her, which you would not have wanted to do without. Thank you for telling us about Lea.

You've given me another reminder about keeping in touch. . . .

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Katherine, prayers for all.

Oberon said...

.....so little time....no regrets....look not with fear....sorry for us all.

Diane said...

((((Katherine))))
what a tribute.

Gannet Girl said...

I am so very sorry. I expect that this loss will reverberate deeply for you for many days to come, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Rev SS said...

prayers from here too, Katherine. So sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dear Katherine - It seems that Lea made her mark on both of us. One day at lunch she remarked upon my bravery at starting the consulting company and breaking the corporate strings. She said that she didn't have the nerve to do that and that she admired that about me. Wasn't she a remarkable lady? She was so confident in her own choices but also held others in esteem for making their own very different choices. I too shall miss her. The last time that I saw her and Tim was at our little going-away party at the Fish City Grill in Dallas about 4 years ago. I too feel sad that I didn't even know she was sick - I could at least sent her a card....
Kathy Sparks