We met what seems like forever ago, when I was much less mature, self-aware, and full of idealism. I had talked my way into an internship (which didn't even exist but I wanted a job there SO badly) at Planned Parenthood headquarters in Manhattan. In reality, it was 2005. Still, it feels like a very long time ago. I only vaguely remember the first time we met at her cubicle, and there wasn't anything life changing about our first meet. However, throughout my short time there, Christine was ever supportive, ever kind, and ever patient. Many years my senior, she never once looked down at me for my young ways or immaturity, or treated me as a stranger. She was open, warm, and very helpful. Being the introvert that I am, (this always shocks people), she introduced me to some more truly good and special people there, and I felt like I was part of the team. She gave me tips, helped me when I had questions, and really was an anchor. We stayed in touch after I left, mostly by e-mail. She continued to be supportive, offering advice, editing my resume (repeatedly), and just being emotionally there for me when things were hard - which was often as I was living at home and that was bad. I'll leave that topic for another day. As time went on we would meet every now and then for lunch, and as the years went by it became less frequent. Nothing had happened between us, it was just life. I hadn't seen her in about two years. I had been thinking about her a lot lately, as she usually sent me a birthday e-mail. I didn't receive one this year and didn't know why. Last week I was scrolling through FB while on the bus, and I saw a post to her page talking about missing her, etc. It was obvious that she had died. Shock and hurt ripped through me. We were never super close, but dear Christine did have an impact on my life, and I have never forgotten that or taken it for granted. Even so, a friend of mine was no longer here. I immediately went to her page and read that she'd had a stroke in May (hence no birthday e-mail), and recently, a heart attack that ended her life. All I could think was that I wish I had known. I don't know what I could have done, being post-surgical, but I could have done something. I felt guilty and helpless. Now she is here no more, and all I can do is honor her. So this blog is for you, Christine. You touched so many lives, cared about women, were a writer, an entertainment enthusiast, a foodie, and a good friend.
Today, I walked by the restaurant we last met at. I had just mentioned to my former boss there whom I also still keep in touch with, who has also changed my life, that we'd last eaten there and that every time I walk by it I think of her. Today I saw that the place was for rent. It was almost like a sign, and I don't really believe in those.
One of my favorite lines from "Memoirs of a Geisha" the movie - sadly I lost the patience to read the whole book after its slow beginning, is so fitting now, though it always struck me as poignant. The narrator (the geisha who is now older and recounting her tale), says “At the temple there is a poem called 'Loss' carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.” How fitting, how true, and how well put. Farewell, Christine. You will never be forgotten.