Thursday, June 16, 2011

happy birthday, eileen. I wish you were still here.

I don't even know what to write. My coworker and friend, Eileen, with whom I shared crappy hours and a very small office for almost two years, passed away unexpectedly last Thursday night. Today she would have turned 34.

To make a long story short, Eileen had medical issues, the most significant being multiple sclerosis. But sickeningly, what actually took her away were complications (two blood clots in the lung and three more in her leg) of routine knee surgery. The technical term is Pulmonary Embolism, and it happens extremely quickly. She was complaining of severe pain, called her doctor and got her checkup appointment moved up from two weeks after the surgery to one. Then her husband went to the bathroom, and when he returned she wasn't breathing. CPR did not help.

I'm still trying to make sense of this. Every time someone opens the door to the office and just stands there without making an announcement, I turn around thinking she's ready for the day with her purple water bottle in one hand and her Disney lunch bag in the other. We spent a lot of time together in that office, and got to know each other very well.

* The smell of hard-boiled eggs/egg salad makes her gag.
* She's the only person I know who uses the word "boob" in a non-anatomical sense--to describe her husband when he forgets to do something.
* If there's ever an option to choose a color, she always picks purple, no hesitation.
* She loves Dave Matthews Band as much as my brother; they were often at the same concerts.
* She is a wonderful stepmom--it's a shame she never got to have a child who could live with her for more than a few weeks at a time.
* She puts ketchup on everything; the whole year I've been waiting for her birthday to give her a huge bottle to keep in the office fridge. Now it's just too late.
* She always remembers when something was going on with your family and asked how they were doing the next time she saw you.
* She'd been working on a puzzle of Cinderella's castle and it was driving her crazy.
* Last fall, she'd wanted to see the comedian Brian Regan but her friend got tickets for something else. She recently got to see him, at a show that Jon and Madelyn were also attending.
* Every time I went to California, she'd ask me to take pictures of palm trees to show her. She got married in the Bahamas and wore a jeweled palm tree necklace that her husband gave her every day.
* She is a really good friend, and suffered a lot when her best friends were going through tough times.
* She is so great with the patients, especially the really young and the really old.

Eileen loved flowers. She made the bouquets for her own wedding and we were looking forward to downtime in the office for her to help me with mine this summer. This past mother's day, her husband/stepdaughter got her a bouquet of "rainbow roses." I'm still unclear on how people get each petal to be a different color, but it looks stunning. One bud from the bouquet just snapped off, so Eileen brought it into the office so we all could enjoy it. Her husband sure wasn't a "boob" that day.

I was going to take a picture of it every day, but unfortunately it didn't even last a week. Eileen kept pulling the dying petals off.

I tacked them onto my bulletin board, next to the postcard from Madelyn and a picture of Jon. And my phone list. I look at them a thousand times every day.

Unfortunately, now I have a mass card pinned up next to it, with a picture of the sun setting over the ocean. Rest in peace, Eileen.


Librarian Girl said...

I'm so sorry. That is really terrible.

Thinking about you.

Teej said...

So, so sorry. It's just awful.

SupaCoo said...

So very sorry. What a loss.

Willowtree said...

*hugs* treasure your memories of Eileen. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I'm so sorry, Cadiz.

You've made Eileen come alive here with your list...what a great list! Eileen has a beautiful soul. May she rest in peace.

meno said...

I feel like i know her a little too, from your words.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

Zinta said...

I am so sorry ...
Thank you for sharing Eileen's memories with us. I wish I could write like you do. I have been writing and deleting something I want to write for my aunt who passed away last year..