Tuesday, March 27, 2007
In Memory of Mandy
Today a girl I knew died. She wasn't technically a girl, as she was in her mid-30s, but she was a girl at heart. I worked with her for years. She was most famous for the way her voice carried from one end of the building to the other, to the chagrin of many a coworker. She was fun-loving, but wore her emotions on her sleeve--the euphoric highs and sob-inducing lows. She laughed from her gut and was generous to a fault.
I still remember riding in her crappy little white compact car on the way back from a client meeting one sunny day. I was explaining to her how I had started nicknaming my ex-boyfriends after famous wars (e.g., Vietnam, Desert Storm). She was laughing so hard, she was having a hard time staying in her lane.
After awhile she met a nice guy, got married and moved away. They bought a home and got pregnant. Then she found out she was sick. Stage 4 colon cancer. Her doctors induced birth prematurely in order to get Mandy into chemo treatment as soon as possible. She held on for a long time and got to see her little girl grow for awhile. I know that little girl kept her going and gave her incredible joy, but seeing that little baby's face had to break her heart, too.
Last year, friends of hers in L.A. hosted a fund-raiser party to help gather money to cover Mandy's medical expenses. I was amazed at the huge turnout and the incredible band of friends Mandy's big heart had touched. It was a real tribute to the kind of person she was.
A few weeks ago, Mandy sent me a thank you note for a book I'd sent her hoping to lift her spirits. She told me she'd started thinking about heaven, even though she'd never been a spiritual person, and it gave her some comfort. "After all, who wouldn't like heaven?" she asked. Then she told me not to make work my number one priority. I remember her working late all the time, stressed over deadlines. That hit a little close to home, since I'm often at my desk way too long stressing way too much.
Thank you, Mandy. My only comfort in your passing is that I know you're not suffering anymore. It is also comforting to know that during this life, you tasted true joy and gave it to so many others. Thank you for your sunshine and your laugh. I hope you find that piece of heaven you deserve.