Yesterday, I received a call at work from a man who identified himself as the son of one of my clients. He had a cheerful voice, which, as the conversation evolved, I realized was coming from shock and exhaustion.
He called to tell me his mother died at 3 AM, quite unexpectedly. That I needed to cancel the trip I'd prepared for her. He said she was all packed and ready to go. But she died. He said she'd been out walking the dog, that she thought she had a kidney stone - called the paramedics, went to the hospital, was rushed into surgery, and died from a ruptured artery in her stomach. And then he apologized to me for the inconvenience.
Yes, HE apologized to me, which further flummoxed me - I told him no, no, please, and I was so sorry for his loss - this woman was absolutely a delight. Just as lovely a person as I have ever worked with - full of vigor, and good humor. I am quite certain that her son was just sleep deprived and in shock at the loss to sound so cheerful - he said as much (cheerfully). He talked about his own son, who was to go on the elaborate trip with Grandma. It was just so sad. So sad.
No insurance. And everything (except the business class air) is in penalty. So I am scrambling to get the steepest penalties waived, AND we have to protect our commission - yes, it sounds harsh, but that's policy here. Work was done, and must be covered. My suppliers have been absolutely wonderful - they've all been quite quick in their response; one voluntarily waived the steep penalty (50%) for a more humane and reasonable flat fee. And everyone has the same reaction. Shock.
I think the real reason I'm writing this is because she absolutely lived her life full tilt. I would guess that she had absolutely no regrets (other than leaving her grandson without his Grand Europe trip). Every email, every conversation I ever had with her over the last four years was her just being full of life. Her example was just that: we don't know how much time we have, so we need to enjoy it fully. I will miss her large-print emails, and her wonderful demeanor.
What a loss.