Saying good-bye too soon…

My dear friend Teresa Thomas passed away on December 1st from breast cancer.  At the young age of 51 she left this planet.  I met Teresa when I was 30 and going through a divorce.  What I remember most about her was her beautiful smile and her always upbeat attitude.  She was excellent with all the parents, children and teachers.  After a few years at Challenger together she went on to work for Harker and convinced me to come over (believe me it didn’t take much convincing!).

During my 5 years at Harker Teresa was my sidekick at lunch nearly every day.  I got to know her daughters Crystal and Andrea and her husband John.  When I decided to move away to the desert, Teresa was the person that I missed the most. 

After being here just a few months I flew Teresa down to come visit me because I missed her so much. 

During the next few years I saw Teresa rarely since I didn’t always venture up north too much.  But a year ago in September I remember when she told me she had just been diagnosed and underwent a double mastectomy.  I remember I was sitting out on my back patio crying on the phone with her and telling her how sad I felt.  It was Teresa that told me not to cry and she was the one comforting me…but that was how Teresa was, always strong.  I didn’t get back to San Jose until last February and I had the chance to have dinner with Teresa.  She had just finished treatments and her hair was gone, but starting to come back and she had the cutest hat on.  She was still her adorable self and we got to catch up. 

September was the last time I got to see Teresa and sadly it was too short.  Her sisters had arranged a get together in Las Vegas for her birthday.  I drove in that morning and got to spend some time with her.  I can still recall laying with her on the hotel bed talking while her sister Connie was in visiting with her sister Sheri.  We talked for awhile about how she was doing and I had the opportunity at that time to tell her how special she has been to me throughout the last nearly 20 years.  I am grateful I had the opportunity to let her know how blessed I was to have her as my friend. 

When I got word that she passed I fell to my knees with grief and sadness.  I cried for me, I cried for her daughters and her husband, I cried for her sisters and her mother.  I cried for all of us left behind. 

My life has been truly blessed and part of my blessing comes from my friendship with a very dear friend.  So Teresa, until we meet again…

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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