I few weeks ago, while I was still in Miami, Harriette, a colleague and friend of mine from work passed away. It was so sudden and unexpected, I am still in a state of disbelief.

I heard via email. An organization she’s been working for and I am a member of, sent out an email informing that she had been in a car crash the day before, and had died on the scene. I could not believe it. I had had lunch with her and all of our program team the week before Sophie and I flew to Miami. We had held a lunch to commemorate Harriette and all the wonderful work she has done for the ECE program.  That was the last time I saw her. I’m so glad I sat by her during that lunch, and gave her a big hug goodbye that day; at least I have that as my last memory of her.

I don’t really want to think about it too much because it obviously makes me very sad, but I am going to miss her so much more come September. She was always so happy, positive, warm, and caring. She was everyone’s mom, even those older than her. She was around 67, so she was older than my mom, but she was one of the few friends I felt I had at work. Maybe because her husband is from Venezuela, and she had lived there for  some years; we certainly had that in common. We also used to speak in Spanish when we got together, the few people in Chicago I could speak to in Spanish. I will miss Harriette so much.

Because of my spiritual belief, I have the comfort of knowing Harriette is in a better place. Yet dealing with death and saying goodbye to those I love and care about has never been my strong suit. I guess, in the Western world, because of how we understand death, it’s not easy for anyone, not just me. I think about her constantly, it’s like everything reminds me of her. At first I teared up very time, now I’m starting to smile, with sadness, but it’s still a smile. As long as I remember her in all her goodness, I think I can shoo the sadness away and keep smiling. I think she would have wanted that.

I miss you Harriette. But I’m sure you are in a peaceful, beautiful place surrounded by those who love and care about you. I hope we meet again, sometime in the future; I’m looking forward to it. Un abrazo fuerte.


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