We know how fragile life is, but we experience that fragility when we lose someone in an instant that is simply unexpected. It is no less painful to suffer a loss suddenly than one we know is on the horizon for a long, or even a short time, but the impact is different.
In a sudden loss, we come face to face with a question about our relationship with the deceased. Did we ever say goodbye? Did the person know we cared? What would we do differently if we knew what was imminent?
After a three-decade relationship with Judi Tull, most recently our long-time editor, she passed over Memorial Day weekend from a sudden heart attack. Judi had retired last August, and we all expected her to have a couple of decades to play in the sun, perhaps write the all American novel, at least share a lunch or two with us from time to time, peppered with laughs and witicisms.
She was wont to say, leaning in conspiratorially before sharing a tidbit of intrigue, "I can only say this to you, my friend..." She had a way of making friends feel special. Judi Tull was one-of-a-kind.
I put off calling Judi for that lunch, believing there was plenty of time to schedule one during the summer, maybe right after Memorial Day. It can never happen now.
She was wont to say,
leaning in conspiratorially
before sharing a tidbit of intrigue,
"I can only say this to you, my friend..."
She had a way of making friends feel special.
Judi Tull was one-of-a-kind.
There were other funerals this year which I knew were coming. One for my last surviving uncle, one for a young man whose wife was expecting their second child. It is no less sad when we know the time is near - it is just less of a shock and gives us an opportunity to share a final moment, even time for closure if need be.
A friend experienced the sudden loss of a grown son recently. I did not know his son, but I will never forget the pain my friend was in when I saw him just days later. We never expect our children to pass before us. We would gladly substitute ourselves.
Today is not too late to examine who in our circle of loved ones does not know how much they mean to us, remembering that right now might be our last chance. If we have loose ends, we can take care of them now. It can be our most important legacy.
Judi Tull was truly one-of-a-kind. Maybe it began with being an only child but it continued with her personality - always on, exciting and suprise-a-minute. She was as fascinating in a conversation as she was in writing a newspaper story or a feature article for us.
Judi was the kind of friend that brought out the kid in all of us - as in - "Judi, can you come out and play!" A gourmet cook, a respected restaurant reviewer, a published author, a mother extraordinaire and everyone's favorite lunch mate. We aren't likely to see her match before we earn the right to see her again for a heavenly rendezvous anticipating the story of a lifetime.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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