My friend died over the weekend.
When I heard the news I wanted to not hear it.
She was such a life force. Big, brash, bold, and never ended a phone conversation without hanging up on you mid-sentence.
She thought everyone was an idiot. Had incredible disdain for lawyers, bankers, and especially realtors. Ironic as she was both a realtor and an attorney.
She was smarter than most of the population and referred to almost everyone as a creature. She was also one of the kindest women I’ve ever met.
Fiercely loyal, protective, and loving she would leave hand-scrawled notes in my mailbox that simply said for momma with a St. Jude medal attached. She would frequently call me as she crossed over the 17th street bridge and bellow into my ear "I’m saying hail mary’s for momma ,love you" and hang up before I could squeak out a thank you.
She was our guardian angel. Forever fixing problems.
When I showed up with a tear-stained face in her office saying we would never buy a home because the credit bureau had mixed up my husbands credit history with some man in Alabama’s she wrote one letter and fixed it after I had gone round and round for three weeks with the call center reps in India.
Every time a bank told us no she dubbed them idiots and proposed a workaround. She pushed us to start our veterinary business, her belief in us sparked a belief in us that we could do hard things. When someone said "no" she did not quit until she found someone who would say "yes."
In the early days, everyone told us no.
Our champion went to bat for us when we wouldn’t go to bat for ourselves. She taught me belief, courage, and that there is always a workaround to a problem.
Right now the world is raging and crying and gnashing its teeth.
It needs a champion to infuse it with kindness and remind us that there is a solution. We may just have to get a little creative.
We may have to be a little kinder and grant each other more space to breathe. We may have to get a little unconventional and keep going until we find a solution.
I’ve been thinking about angels here on earth. Those kind souls that show up in our lives and offer kindness. Those individuals who alter the course of your day and sometimes your life through their caring.
Kindness can show itself in so many ways. Big or small a kind gesture changes the energy of the universe.
I’ve been the beneficiary of incredible grace and kindness over and over again. I’ve lived on three continents and one island and everywhere I go I have found that if you are willing to open your eyes kindness is literally in every corner of the universe.
Recently our team held a march to protest police brutality. We invited the police. They came and marched. The Police Chief spoke out against police brutality. Along the route, the officers chanted with the crowd.
Two sides. One goal. Kindness was the bridge.
I watched our team lovingly lead a peaceful protest and read the words of Martin Luther King from the Courthouse steps and I realized without my friend’s belief that we could do hard things this protest would not be happening.
I would not be bursting with pride watching our black manager and white assistant manager link arms and step into their power and do hard things while invoking kindness.
I’m feeling adrift with the loss of my angel. She was like a talisman I carried in my back pocket knowing that if she was with me when we made big decisions we would do the right thing.
I’ve got to trust she’s still got my back and perhaps now has a better view.
Whenever I get the urge to shrink into my cowardice I have no doubt she’ll somehow figure out how to give me a swift kick in the rear to move along, do the right thing, do the hard thing, do the scary thing and do it with kindness.
When I was 28, I was depressed in DC and decided to change my view and move to Africa.
I was excited and terrified and afraid even with a change of scenery I wouldn’t be able to shake the depression out of my bones.
The kindness of the Zambian people soothed my soul. The kindness of a khaki-clad blue knee-sock wearing angel that appeared on my path as I lugged my enormous amount of luggage to my room changed my life.
I married the kind khaki-clad man with the biggest and best laugh you can imagine. His kindness, courage, and strength altered my path and expanded my universe.
There are countless angels here on earth who encourage, love, and prod me to keep going and keep growing.
I will miss my friend, but she lives in me. Her kindness and courage and her inability to never finish a phone conversation are her legacies. As for my khaki-clad husband, his kindness and laughter continue to light up my world daily. I’m so grateful the universe put us on the same path.