Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Anna

My mind is all over the place right now and it's so hard to focus. This year has brought me many joys, including good health and a wonderful man in my life. But my heart shattered into a million pieces on Sunday night. A million pieces...just from one simple whatsapp message.

I was at my boyfriend's house. It was late in the evening. We had just got back from having dinner at Jack Astors and a round of glow in the dark mini golf. We had a blast. We got home and were going to watch a bit of TV before settling into bed to recharge for the Monday to come. I had place my iPhone in "Do not disturb" mode, as it's not uncommon for me to receive emails and notifications in the middle of the night. I didn't want those buzzes and beeps from my phone to disturb our sleep. Little did I know that I'd be getting very little sleep that day.

I decided to take one last look at my phone when I saw a message from one of my coworkers. She said that she had some bad news. She said that one of our dear managers had passed away. My coworker knew that this manager and I were close. When I saw the message, the first thing out of my mouth was "what??" My boyfriend said "what's wrong?" All I could say was "what??" I think I said it at least 3 times before I could even respond to him. I didn't know how to act at first...it hadn't even begun to sink in.

I finished up my conversation with my friend...and I put my phone down on the table. It was at that point that I put my hands on my face and started to cry. I can't believe this...I didn't even know she was sick.

I spent the night tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable enough to sleep. I tried my best to turn my back to my boyfriend and cry quietly, but I'd feel him hug me from behind.

I always, without fail, wake up with enough time to do my makeup before going to work. But that Monday, I didn't care. I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed, and that was that.

Greg dropped me off at work and I headed for Tim Hortons. I knew I wasn't going to finish this bagel, but I bought it anyway. I headed to the elevator and landed on my floor. I was met with crying coworkers and managers trying to comfort them. I lost it; I bursted into uncontrolled tears.

Anna and I had a history beyond work. We met nearly 20 years ago when I was a patient at sick kids hospital. I'm not sure what her exact title was, but she seemed to be in charge of toy donations. She came to visit me as she was already a friend of my father. In passing, I talked to her about the "tickle me Elmo" craze, and how I'd love to have one. Wouldn't you know it...the very next day, she showed up in my hospital room with a grey plastic bag. She had a huge smile on her face as she squeezed the plastic bag...and out came the laughter that is synonymous eith Elmo. Oh my God...she got me a tickle me Elmo!! I later learned that she contacted the company who made the Tickle me Elmos, somewhere in the states, and had the toy fedex'd to the hospital. I couldn't believe it.

Years later, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I saw her again at the bank. I had just recently started working there, so a meeting was set up for all of us to meet all of the managers. She and I locked eyes and looked at each other for a few moments, both unsure why we recognized each other. Then, amazingly, the light switch turned on for both of us. We hugged and laughed as everyone else looked on, wondering what was going on.

Years passed and my relationship with Anna remained strong. She was an auxiliary police officer, and coincidentally, was my dad's partner. This just solidified our bond. We would always hug when we saw each other in the hallways or elevators at work. She always had a smile on her face. She always made you feel good.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a pilot training project happening at work. She was the head of this training project. And, in typical Anna fashion, she showered my whole team with gifts-company branded gym bags, pens, winter ice scrapers...it was amazing. But, I wasn't surprised. I knew that if it had been anyone else heading up that pilot project, we would not have gotten all of those thank you gifts/tokens of appreciation.

Fast forward to now. There was no opportunity for her to fight, as the cancer was already at stage 4. It was just too much for her loving and caring soul to deal with...so this angel took her rightful place in heaven next to God.

I spoke to grief counsellor at work, and that was helpful. I just...I'm sitting here imagining her smiling face and her kind voice.

That's the thing with the passing of a friend. We cry and we sob because they are no longer here with us, and we love and miss them. But, I honestly and truly do take solice in the fact that she is no longer in pain, she is no longer suffering. But God...I'm gonna miss her so much.





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