The Uniqueness of Loss

Reflections from our CEO

Last week I learned of the passing of a friend. She battled cancer several times, so it was not the shock we often hear about, but it is a terribly sad and awful loss. I sat with the pain of this news, my thoughts turning to why am I feeling this intense loss and pain, why the aching in my chest? I have experienced loss before, I have been here, yet as I reflected on this loss, it made me think more about the uniqueness of loss.

As I journey through this experience, it has been comforting to allow myself the space to feel this loss in all the ways it is different from others and share memories of my friend, Abby.

Abby and I met in the fall of 1984, and we became fast and close friends through an extraordinary time of learning, growth, and exciting travels. After those 3 months of living and traveling together, we didn’t really have much time when we were physically together, but we remained deeply connected nonetheless. The primary expression was love whenever the exchanges came from Abby through cards, birth announcements, text messages, and calls. Love for life, for friendship, for a beautiful day, a wonderful memory, her incredible husband, and her lovely children. Abby brought joy to things, the simplest and the most profound, in a way that I admired since our friendship began. I will miss this teacher, this mentor of a brilliant and joy-filled life.

If I’m honest in this moment, I have to say that I will also miss how she made me feel like the most special friend she ever knew. Abby never missed a chance to say how much she adored you, how fabulous and smart and unique you were, how much she appreciated you. That was the gift of knowing Abby. In the social media posts about her passing, I see that I am not alone in how she made me feel and how much happiness she brought others. I feel so fortunate to have had this person in my life.

Now, as I continue to process the uniqueness of this loss, I turn to how can I carry her legacy forward? How can I keep the lessons learned from having her in my life live on? It seemed effortless for Abby to create moments with friends and loved ones that were so very meaningful, and while perhaps it was, I believe it was very intentional too, charging her with joy as she radiated it for us. I’m not quite sure what my evolution of this looks like yet. I imagine Abby would tell me not to worry, let it come naturally, be present, and be generous of heart. I’ll watch for a sign from her, and in the meantime, I’ll remember with joy the gift of my friend Abby.

Kathy Marchi – CEO