On Friday, I received some tragic news that a friend of mine from school had passed away after a weeklong battle following a sudden stroke. She'd undergone a few emergency brain surgeries to clear some blood clots and had even been responsive on one side. The last I'd heard from friends was that she was going to be put in a medically induced coma for seven days. I don't know what that was for, but from earlier updates, it sounded like she was perhaps at the beginning of a long and slow recovery.
I feel devastated now. The news hit me like a ton of bricks and I had to find some place quiet in the midst of my chaperoning duties (I was in Manila until today) to just absorb what had happened. She was a friend I'd had in my days at ISKL, in middle school and through high school. We'd kept in touch over the years, her reading my blog and me reading hers, sending messages over Facebook, trying once unsuccessfully to meet up in HK (I don't remember now why it didn't work out). We even exchanged Christmas cards. I had hoped to catch up with her at a school reunion in April next year.
I've lost loved ones before, but for some reason losing Michele feels different. She was my friend. She was 39, healthy and full of a love of travel, family and life. She was a beautiful, bright and vibrant person and her smile warmed so many people. It was clear in the days following her stroke that her friendship had reached so many as they now sent messages of love and support. I remember it at my school. She never seemed to belong to just one friend group, but rather she seemed to get along with so many people.
I can't really believe that she's gone. It's really given me pause to think about what's important. Time, no matter how fleeting it is, family, friends, moments. Don't take any of it for granted. Live with no regrets. Love to the fullest of your capability. Try your best to always go to bed satisfied with something and with a plan for how you'll do it even better the next day. I don't mean to sound cheesy, but it's just really real now.
I only wish that the reminder of these things didn't have to come with such a tragic loss.