Last week, a former coworker of mine, Regina, passed away from breast cancer. She was 34. I can’t say that we were especially close, but we were more than acquaintances. Friendly acquaintances, I guess. After I moved away from NYC, I saw her once when I visited and we exchanged Facebook messages as recently as a couple of years ago. By that time, I knew she had been diagnosed but was improving. She invited me to her walks and events, and I watched the “Rally for Regina” messages and photos pour in through Facebook. I got updates on her through our mutual friend every so often, but I had no idea that her condition had become so dire.
So when I got the email about her passing, I was surprised and sad. We tend to say typical things when someone dies: “She was kind.” “She had the biggest smile and the biggest heart.” “She was the life of the party.” “She would do anything for anyone.” But, really, Regina was all of those things. I can still hear her booming laugh and voice as clear as day, five years later. The tragedy of Regina’s passing didn’t truly hit me until this morning, when I read her obituary. I remembered that we were fellow Geminis, and bonded to some degree over that. But when I saw her birthdate, it came into focus — I am exactly one year and five days older than Regina. That’s how much more time I’ve been allotted. Continue reading