My friend and coworker recently died on the way home from work. I was one of the last people to talk to her. She was a young mother with marital problems. She was trying to care for her aging parents and be active in her community. She had way too much on her plate (as most mothers do) and was feeling overwhelmed. I did my best to talk her through her difficulties, but often I just could not relate. Then, suddenly it was over. I had no more chances to talk to her. She was done worrying about the many things on her mind.
I feel so lost. It does not seem real that she is not coming back. Unfortunately, I have dealt with people close to me dying more than I think most people my age. Both of my in-laws died when my husband and I were dating in high school, two of my great grandparents died when I was old enough to remember, and I have lost several friends. I think this is hitting me harder because all of these people either were old or sick but she died suddenly. I walked into the parking lot and saw a car like hers and lost it. I recently drove the road where she was killed and was sick to my stomach most of the drive. I see projects she helped my kids make and cry. The triggers are so random.
Another twist is that because she was my coworker who worked with me on projects, I must now carry my load and a portion of hers until her position is filled. We worked so well together and I LOVED working with her. She had this contagious energy that is so blatantly absent now. We led a preschool activity together each week and my children were participants. Now that she is gone, my shoulders ache after the activity each week and I feel exhausted. I feel so burdened to keep it "normal" for the kids and carry her legacy. At the same time, I can't imagine doing it with anyone else. I have even thought of taking her job myself, but I can't take that step either.
In her memory the children and I will plant a tree in front of our workplace next week. Maybe that will help me, even a little.