Today I got news I knew was coming.
I knew it was coming, but I was not ready. Not in the least.
There are some people that you lose contact with, but never forget. For me, my friend Colleen was one of those people. We met in grade school. We played soccer together. She was slight and sprightly with the hugest blue eyes you've ever seen. She had a super cute giggle. Collen was someone who had a truly pure, beautiful soul. Kind, funny, sweet. All those things.
In a word, lovely.
Colleen and I have not been in close contact since we graduated high school, but I have thought of her often. I would get periodic updates from her mom, who I'd run into from time to time.
About five years ago, I was out at my parents' house and her mom showed up. I was the only one at the house. She hugged me hard and we sat down. She told me Colleen had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As she looked in my eyes, her pain bored down into my heart. I ached for her.
Over the past few years, I've heard news from time to time. I could not even fathom the fact that Colleen would lose her battle with cancer. It just never crossed my mind.
I found her on Facebook, and watched in awe as this woman, who was incredibly sick, was living her life with so much vigor.
Colleen lost her battle last night. She was at home. She was, no doubt, enveloped in love.
On October 24, Colleen was going to ride in the Livestrong Challenge in Austin. As of tonight, she has raised $40,830 for the cause.
Tonight, I will cry for Colleen. I will mourn her and celebrate her. I will think of her loving husband and her wonderful family.
I will hope for peace and comfort for those who loved Colleen.
And there were a lot of us.
(If you are so inclined, Colleen's fundraising page is still up. How awesome would it be to get her WAY past her fundraising goal?)