Today went like any other regular work day. It was overcast in the morning over the Bay Area. It had been raining since yesterday. They promised some sun by the afternoon. And indeed, the sun came out but the air still carried a chill that pinched cheeks and caught breaths.
But today was not so ordinary, really. A year ago today, a dear friend passed away. I had talked about her in my previous entries. I can’t express enough how her illness and her eventual passing has affected me in so many ways. I’ve had family and friends pass on over the years. But Vanna was a very close and dear friend.
And so, at the start of my day today, I talked to Vanna. I talked to her while I was getting ready in the morning, in the car while driving to work, and in my head when I had a moment to spare in between meetings.
I told her how our lives have been since last year. I told her how I have missed her calls or her witty remarks. I also told her that I still can’t believe she’s gone or that events progressed as they did, leading to her death.
I confessed to her that when I read Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, when I reached the part about Steve’s diagnosis of cancer and the tortuous path he chose until his eventual death, I could not help but be reminded of how it was with her. There were too many similarities: The refusal to accept the diagnosis, the delay in the surgery, the psychological angst over body images. And even through the subsequent treatments, there were the constant debates and battles to convince what is best, the very unusual diets and practices, the peculiar consultations. And yet, all through this, Steve, like Vanna, was surrounded by family and friends who rallied around them, continued to love them in spite of harsh words/treatment, no matter how inane or surreal the situation.
And so, this evening, I want to celebrate my friend on the first anniversary of her passing. But I want to applaud the family and friends, and any other unsung heroes—doctors, nurses, caregivers, chauffeurs, helpers, transport team, who have steadfastly persevered with Vanna and her battle. Such is the dedication of the circle she has been embraced by since her childhood days. The rest of us can only hope to be deserving of anything remotely similar.
We said we would not forget. And we have not.