Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

How you doing Girlfriend?


She wasn’t my BFF.  We weren’t childhood friends, I didn’t go to school with her, never ran a race, took a class, or joined a book club with her.  I didn’t know all the personal details of her life, never went out for a drink or hung out on weekends with her.  But she was a friend.  We saw each other in the halls at work, ran into each other in the ladies room.  We stood and talked, long conversations about life, family, choices.  We picked each other up when we were having a bad day.  At the very least we smiled and waved as we scurried about our work.  She cared when my parents died.  I cared when her marriage was over.  She’d greet me with “How you doing Girlfriend?” and a smile.  Sometimes I’d tell her how I was doing, sometimes not.  But I was always glad she asked.

I wasn’t unique in my relationship with her.  She was everyone’s Mom at work.  She was where people went for an aspirin or advice.  Where people went when they needed a break from the work grind, to talk about her grand-kids and admire their photos on her cubicle wall.  To laugh.  To commiserate.  To recharge. She wore socks decorated with jingle bells during the holidays every year and we all smiled when we heard her walk by; she was the epitome of Christmas spirit, our own Christmas elf.

And when she didn’t feel well this winter we all cared.  When she was gone from work awhile we all asked about her.  “Not good” I was told when I asked her boss early in January.  He was going to see her that weekend so I said I’d write her a note for him to deliver.  The next day, giving him the note I heard more; it was more serious than I realized and I knew my note was inappropriate.  I rewrote it that night, changed it from a cheery couple of lines to a two page letter telling her how much I enjoyed our conversations, how grateful I was that we were friends, how I would miss hearing those jingle bell socks as she went by during the holidays.  I gave her my home phone number and my personal email in case she needed another long conversation.

I never heard from her.  She died Thursday night – we heard the news at work Friday morning.  Devastated does not begin to describe my sorrow.  Our collective sorrow.

She was a little person, probably not five foot tall, with a heart as big as the sky.  I can hear her voice in my head, I see her walking the halls at work.  I strain to hear those bells.   I tried to remember the last time I saw her, talked to her.  She used to send me emails about jumbo loans that had to be underwritten in my area but had been sent in error to her department.  When it was busy I was never happy to see her emails and we used to kid about her sending me the work.  My last email from her was Christmas Eve.

Her:  “Happy Holidays.   I have just moved 3 files to your new deal
queue…    Thanks”

Me:  “Thanks.  no more gifts now….we don’t deserve them!  🙂 ”

Her:  “Oh, but my friend, you DO deserve gifts!! ….the best that ever were 🙂
OK–no more gifts today–just a wish for a blessed, happy Christmas & New

Friday as I sat stunned in my cubicle I idly typed her name into  email.  I know it’s silly but I just wanted to say goodbye.  I sat and stared at her name.  Remembering.  Trying not to cry.  Listening to her voice in my head.  Then I typed one line…”I’m going to miss you girlfriend.”  I paused, then hit the send button.  I got an auto reply:   “I am out of the office until 3/3/14.”

Somewhere a short little lady is visiting with friends and family that have gone before.  Her socks are jingling, her smile is wide, her face glows.   Those of us left here are hurting, but were we ever lucky to have had her while we did.

So…you go girl, enjoy your next adventure.  I wish it could have been the retirement we talked about, dreamed of.  I wish you had had more time here.  And I’m hoping this is the biggest, best adventure of all.

But I’m sure going to miss you girlfriend.  Yes I am.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

36 thoughts on “How you doing Girlfriend?

  1. Sounds like it was a life well lived. May she rest in peace and joy.


  2. Beautiful written and the greatest gift of all ….to be remembered with a warm heart


  3. I agree, very well written. You were indeed lucky to have known her.


  4. Lovely tribute to her. Thank you for sharing her with the rest of us . Your words were simply lovely.


  5. Oh, golly, this is so sad but such a well-written tribute. You know, people enter our lives for a reason, for a season — then they’re gone. You were blessed to have such a kindred fellow worker; just know that Heaven is ringing out with the bells on her Christmas socks right now!


  6. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. So very sorry to hear of your loss. Peace to you and hour co-workers during this difficult time.


  7. Beautiful post, Dawn. I have several old friends who have been away from their e-mail for a long time now and are still on my address list. Same for the little address book I carry in my purse. Can’t cross out the names.


  8. Well, we finely got it right,,,,, Timber and me just got back from the vet, he got his three year booster and new tags for our new home town of Chino Valley, AZ. I’ve been working or really playing in our dirt, getting ready for a garden and a garden railroad, “G” Scale. Oh, Timber says hi too you all and so do I. Thanks, ,,,,,


    • Well HI THERE you guys! Good to see you here! I’m glad you’re getting ready for a garden in the spring, I know you’ve been wanting to do that. And the railroad should be fun too!


  9. Sorry to hear about your coworker. Sounds like she was a great person. Mommy smiled at the thought of jingle bell socks.


  10. I feel like I should send you a sympathy card. I’m sorry for your loss.
    I’m sorry that every new loss opens wounds from old losses.


  11. I am reading this with the tears just pouring. All of this is so true. You are right. She was one that I went to all the time for advice comfort and support. She was always there. I remember I called her one time and was talking to her about something, I don’t even remember what it was now, but after I was done she said “I am going to tell you something, and you probably aren’t going to want to hear it. So she told me and after she was done she said to me, are you mad at me? I replied, no because sometimes when you tell me something I don’t want to here I let it go in one ear and out the other.” We both laughed so hard. And then in our future conversations I would say to her I didn’t let that one go out the other ear. And we would laugh some more. Because that’s what she always made you do until now. And just so you know, she was 4’11”. Lol. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and such a true story on her


  12. I am her sister. I knew her all my life and you summed things up so well. Thank you for a beautifully written tribute.


  13. So many hugs, Dawn, and thank you for sharing such poignant memories of your girlfriend. How I wish you could have said goodbye. I still believe it’s possible to talk with our loved ones after death, so who knows, maybe she’s reading this blog post and saying How you doing, Girlfriend, from somewhere beyond? Blessings…


  14. Dawn, I wish there were words of comfort I could pass along, but I know none are adequate. But I’m sending hugs. Hang in there Girlfriend.


    • Thanks Heather. We have to get through this week at work…and the one after that and the one…well. You know. It is never going to be OK. But we’ll adjust. Will always miss her though.


  15. So sorry about your friend. Im sure she knew how much you cared about her. Work friends don’t have to be people we see outside of work. This post is so well written. You should send it to her family. Im sure they would appreciate it.


  16. I know others said it, but you have such a way with words. I really hope that when it’s my time to go, someone remembers me as fondly and eloquently as you have your friend. It’s surely a wonderful legacy to leave behind and a testament of a wonderful person.
    Sorry for your loss.


  17. Dawn what a moving tribute to Sandy. She was a diamond in the rough and I am so glad I knew her and had the.pleasure of working with her. She was always a Mom to all of us. I miss her laugh and her bells. She will be forever in our hearts. She is in a better place with no pain or suffering. I will miss her always.


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