Last month, right before Christmas, I met up with my friend Carol for our monthly gab and midway through catching up, she started giving me The Facebook Update. I’ve never had a Facebook so I miss all the comings and goings of who saw Beyoncé or got a puppy or is #blessed (unless they are on Instagram, and then I heart all.)
She chatted for a bit about some folks we used to work with and then out of the blue said, “Do you remember Kerry H? She passed away, just unexpectedly.”
I was completely stunned. Like being punched.
Carol wasn’t expecting my reaction (“You guys weren’t even close friends, were you?”)
I met Kerry at work, during my first few months back at the studio. It was hectic and I was working LONG days and I didn’t socialize much. She approached me one afternoon and asked if I was the girl everyone said traveled a lot… alone.
That was indeed me!
And we started up a nice conversation about travel and all the places she wanted to go to and see. And she was really interested in how I could possibly do it by myself (!!) because that seemed so scary (!!) and of course it is scary until you just go and do it and in time you find it gets easier.
I love talking about travel so I was excited to meet another woman who was interested in the topic.
“What destination is at the top of your list?” I asked her.
“London,” Kerry said. “I loved English literature and history and I just want to see Westminster Abbey and Big Ben and all of it so much.”
“Well, that’s an easy one, “ I told her. “First of all, you speak the language and there are tons of nonstop flights and it’s a great place to travel solo because it’s a city, unlike say, a romantic hotel in Hawaii where you might feel a little out of place. Here, let me look it up on some of my deal sites and see what’s available for next month…”
And right away she came up with a few off-the-top-of-her-head reasons why she couldn’t go (work, scheduling, needs time to plan, money) and then, finally, “I’ll travel when I retire, though, for sure.”
And this seemed crazy to me, because she was in her 40s and that is a LONG time to wait to go to London!
During the time she worked at the studio, we repeated this interaction every few weeks. She would chat me up about travel or ask my opinion on whether or not she should buy frequent flier miles (my answer: NO. Spend your money on a flight, not on miles you may never use!) and she always liked hearing about where I might be off to next. And Kerry would remind me she was planning to see the world once she retired, and eventually I stopped trying to talk her out of her reasons. At least by now I have realized that whether people think they can or cannot do a thing, they are right.
Kerry was just over 50 years old when she had a heart attack and passed away. The day I found out I went home and cried in my bathtub, not even sure why at first, because like Carol said we weren’t all that close. We hadn’t stayed in touch since she left the studio.
But I can’t stop wondering if she ever packed a bag and went to London. If she got out there and saw a little bit of the world. Or did she spend her life waiting to live it after she retired? Was she happy? Did she carve out the life she wanted? Am I happy? Am I carving out a life I want or are there parts of me still putting off the best until (fill in the blank here). I’m hardwired to live in “someday.” I am the person who often saves the nice dress and the nice purse for better occasions, so more than once I have saved a thing so long, only to find it no longer fits, or suits me, or is now moth-eaten and wrong. Am I doing that in any portion of my life? Am I waiting until I am rested/less busy/thinner to do something or try something?
What am I deferring for later that I wish I were doing today?
Writing is one thing. So here I am. The website is still kind of broken and it bugs me but if I wait to fix it before I write I may wait too long to have anything left to say.
These are the thoughts I have been mulling over as we step into 2019.
I hope she saw some of the world. Love to you Kerry ♥