Yesterday, I received a message that my friend Martha lost her hard fought battle, after a brain aneurism in January 2012. I have been trying to come up with the best way to pay tribute to Martha and her husband David and their incredible circle of family and friends. As I think about all of the things I have thought about Martha both before the aneurism and since, it is remarkable how in sync so much of it is. When I try to make sense of something that doesn’t automatically make sense to me, I look for the lessons. I will take the lessons Martha shared and try to improve my life in the ways I admired Martha.

First lesson comes from the very first meeting – Martha had on a black jacket, crisp white button down shirt and I think black slacks and patent leather shoes. I am not a visual person but Martha was and she always looked the part. She was tall, and the combination of her long curly red hair and her incredible sense of style really made her stand out wherever she went. She was beautiful inside and out and I felt fortunate when we connected and became friends and colleagues; discovering many shared experiences. Today, I wore cowboy boots in her honor (since she was the reason I bought them) and vowed to do a better job making a great first impression like Martha always did.

Second lesson comes from Martha’s relationships. I did not know David personally prior to last January but I always felt like I did. I would even talk as if I knew him in my coaching with Martha because it was so obvious to me what an incredible and supportive husband he was when Martha would talk about him. Martha and David had a long and loving relationship and while I never knew them as a couple, I saw the quality of it in my relationship with Martha and in how David responded to Martha’s illness. I cannot imagine a more devoted partner than David has been and his love for Martha just poured out the few times I saw him in person. I was convinced his love was what helped Martha get over the tougher parts of her recovery. And Martha’s love for David is what sustained him through the past 14 months. What I learned from these two was that their love for each other was not just strong but they both never tired of expressing it to each other so that you couldn’t help but know how they felt. And, they had so many other people who were in their loving circle. This was so clear with how devoted family and friends were during Martha’s stay in the hospital. This lesson of love and connectedness will stay with me and be another way I seek to be better in my life.

Finally, something that may be most challenging! Martha did everything right and on time. A post last year at Valentine’s Day from Martha’s sister- in-law was about Martha’s Valentine’s Day cards which were all ready to go in January before the aneurysm. I thought, “That sounds like Martha, always on time or early and following all the rules of etiquette, as well as being a consummate professional. As I write this post, I take comfort in one thing – I told my friend all of these things throughout our friendship. I admired these qualities in her and she knew that. I was lucky to have had this friendship and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know such a beautiful person both inside and out. I hope David, their family and friends will find some measure of comfort in knowing how Martha made a mark in so many lives. I miss you Martha.

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