Monday, July 19, 2010
We immediately hit it off. We sat across from each other. I could tell right away that she knew her stuff. She was organized. She had beautiful handwriting. We worked well together. We went to lunch together, shopping together, and walked to the parking lot together.
Now, I'm a big talker. I'll talk to total strangers. I'll tell total strangers my life story, no problem. I probably tell too much. Anjeanette may talk a lot, and that she does, but she doesn't reveal anything. Getting information from her is like pulling teeth. She is the most private person I have ever met. As a matter of fact, if she knew I was writing about her, she'd give me grief. It wouldn't stop me, mind you, but she'd still give it.
Every blue moon, she'll reveal another layer to me. It's usually when I least expect it, that's for darn sure. I remember when she told me that her son's father was killed. JaQuan was a baby when it happened, he'll never know his daddy. I've tried to ask her about it in subsequent years, but she's been tight lipped. What I do know is that it hurt her to the core. This many years later, if I do broach the subject, it always causes teary eyes. I don't think that pain will ever go away for her.
The next thing she told me was that JQ (I like to call him that) has sickle cell anemia. At the time, I had no idea what this was. After 14 years together, I know a lot about it. I know when he was little he used to go into Crisis mode frequently and she would rub away his pain and sit with him at the hospital until it passed. I know he had to have his spleen removed when he was about 9. I know she had to make the painstaking decision whether or not to transfuse him and potentially harm his organs, or to not do transfusions and risk stroke. I've seen her spend two days a month at the hospital for the past 10 years,and that's when things are going good. I've watched her be proactive in his care and I've seen her protect him like a mama bear. All the while, she has done everything in her power to ensure that his life is as normal as can be.
She and I lived through teenage daughters at the same time. We laugh at each other's plights with these girls. We understand how cool we both are, even if our daughters don't.
Three years ago, she told me she was pregnant again. (by the way, she told me via email, even though we still sit together) I was floored, as I had never even heard about a man in her life. To be frank, I was surprised she had sex! :-) I digress. So, I watched that belly grow, and out came India, the cutest kid on the planet. And, oh, by the way, she's 3 going on 16. So, now she has two wonderful daughters and this crazy son.
We have lived through proms, graduations, numerous terminations at work, family deaths, family births, Michael Jackson's death, Michael Jackson's music, Gladys Knight, Taco Bell, snack days, new computer systems, moves, pole lickers,TI, waffles and chicken, a DMB concert, "oh yeah?", and numerous giggle fests. We are starting to age and we laugh about how we will both still be working there when we're 95. We very rarely do anything outside of work, but she's one of my best friends. She knows everything about me, and I think she's starting to trust me a bit after 14 years.
So, today, she tells me about three kids who died last week from sickle cell complications. It hits home for her. It hits home for me. And, I'm reminded that this illness her child has can be terminal. We read the obits together and try to not think about these kids and their families and their moms. You see, I can't tell her this, because she'll brush me off for fear of crying, so I have to write it here. And I have to write it because it's up at the top of my mouth and has to come out.
Anjeanette, I will be with you always and will hold you up when you need it the most. Just like you've done for your chil'ren all their lives. I know you have a huge family that takes care of you, but I've always got your back. I love your kids like my own, and I feel your pain when you do. I will never be able to tell you this in person, because you wouldn't want that and you wouldn't like that. But, I really feel ya.