My heart has broken. My friend Lana died, suddenly and unexpectedly, a week ago today.
She was young (46), beautiful, strong, sweet, and one of the most compassionate and truly kind people I've ever known.
Although I am a person of faith, I'm really struggling as to why God would take someone in the prime of her life and someone who was a single mother to an 18 year old daughter. That daughter is now without her biggest cheerleader and her fiercest advocate and champion.
When one loses their mother, it's always traumatic; but when one loses their mother during adolescence, it has to be shattering.
Lana's soaring spirit was in stark contrast to the shit storm that life threw at her. Her own mother committed suicide when Lana was only 4, and her father was sent to prison not long after that. She was raised by an aunt and uncle, and wound up dropping out of high school. Despite that challenging beginning to her life she pulled herself up and wound up getting not only her college degree but a Masters degree in Social Work.
In fact, that's how I met her. She was the Social Worker assigned to my son when he was a tiny, medically fragile baby. We quickly became great friends, and wound up giving birth to our daughters (my second child, her first) within weeks of each other.
When she went through her divorce from her abusive first husband, I saw her once again pull herself up and push through it. Lana was a RELENTLESS optimist, always looking for the best in people, and always staying incredibly positive.
Later she wound up remarrying, but (eventually) endured another divorce, several years later.
Despite being heart broken after the breakup of her second marriage she once displayed bravery and grace and pulled herself up and moved forward.
And now, with no warning, she is gone. And per her wishes, she did not want a funeral or memorial service. To me, that is the hardest part. The fact that the death was sudden and now there is no service leaves everything feeling so surreal; so unfinished.
So I mourn for my friend, and for her daughter. And for the goodbye I wasn't able to give her.
Rest in peace Lana. I love you.
4 days ago