Heaven Has Another Angel

This started as a Ten Things of Thankful post, I aimed to weave a tale of positivity, one that showed triumph amongst odds. By triumph, I mean losing over ten pounds in a week; by odds, I mean, the completely filled refrigerator that sits in my kitchen for the 12 hours a day that I’m at home and awake.

My message quickly turned to something much different and more somber, mainly not so Thankful.

I think we all have that friend who is from a different stage in your life, yet when you pick up the phone, you can talk for hours. Life has changed so much, you may not be able to talk every day, week or month, but your thoughts are there and when you’re near, seems like you never missed a day. I have a few of these.

As I was scrolling through Facebook, one of these friend’s names popped up in my feed as a share from a mutual friend… this post mentioned that prayers were being sent her way. A couple of months had passed since we last spoke, so I sent her a text to see what was going on. The response:

“Michelle had a seizure last Tuesday and is unconscious ~ Husband”

What? Where do you go from there? Whatever was going on, I didn’t want to bother him. Her youngest is the same age as my little Butterfly and I’m sure he’s fielding questions and busy raising his children.

Heaven has another angel | aprilnoelle.com

So, I reached out to our mutual acquaintance from the Facebook post who, at the time, responded that she was on the way to the hospital and she would get back to me when she returned. I waited anxiously 3000 miles away, on the opposite coast for details. The follow-up message was:

“Sorry to inform you April, she passed away early this morning.”

My heart dropped. My mind started spinning. Didn’t I just talk to her not too long ago? A month? Two? Three? I check my phone, which dated our last phone conversation a year ago. But I know that wasn’t the last time we chatted. Well, I was pretty sure.

I checked my email. There it was: our last conversation was by email for my birthday. We exchanged updated pictures of our children, talked about my former job (the company for which she worked), and our extended families.

Five months. That was all. Just five months ago, she seemed healthy and happy, only to find out something happened and took her life in such a short amount of time.

I called my former boss. She had to have some details. I still didn’t want to bother the family.

Here’s the short of it: My friend found out she had stage 4 brain cancer on July 1st. She was given 6 months to live. Because of her great response to treatment, her life expectancy was extended to a year and a half. She had one seizure that started to put this new timeline in doubt, only to be confirmed by the second seizure from which she never regained consciousness.

I have not been able to contain my emotions. Guilt for being unaware that anything was wrong. Anger for not living closer. Sadness for losing a friend. Emptiness for knowing I wouldn’t have her in my life anymore.

She was such a truly beautiful person, inside and out. She took time to listen to you, pray with you and make you smile. She remembered birthdays and special occasions. She was one of the few people that could sense something was wrong and willing to take time out of her day to engage you. She loved her family and her friends. She was an amazing human being.

For the last two weeks, I have broken down into tears on several occasions. But who am I? I’m a friend, but one who hasn’t spoken to her in five months. I won’t be effected by this loss. I didn’t lose a wife or a mother.

I didn’t even know. That alone breaks my heart. I wasn’t there for her. I am not close enough to go to her services. There’s almost nothing that I can do, except send flowers and a card to the family.


Have you been here? Have you struggled with the guilt of not being there?


41 thoughts on “Heaven Has Another Angel”

  1. Oh April – so sorry. Yes, I’ve been there.
    They always say to live each day like the last and get in touch with friends and tell them how you feel, but you always think you have time. Always.
    So, so sorry.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I just lost my own mother a month ago and I felt like I couldn’t do it any longer but life goes on and we have to do what we have to do to be strong for those around us. I wish you peace and just know that she’s in a better place.

  3. Yes, I have experienced that guilt and life is so short, that is one hard lesson to learn. We get so busy and wrapped up in work that we need to stop, breath, look around and enjoy those around us.

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I have been through this and I felt like I let my friend down. Now I try to stay in touch with family and friends as much as possible.

  5. It is always hard when someone passes away and you don’t feel like you’ve kept up contact the way you should. Posts like this make me want to call all my friends, because I know that some of them I haven’t talked to in a good while.

  6. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I am sure you are still in shock and we have all been there especially with friends and not staying in contact like we would want. It makes me think of my own friends that I am way overdue in talking to.

  7. Yes, I’ve been where you are and my friend came to me years later in a “dream” and told me to stop feeling guilty. She was fine, more than fine. She wasn’t mad and she didn’t want to feel bad anymore. It was a beautiful experience. Your friend would tell you the same.

  8. Don’t feel guilty about not being there for her, you tried your best at least. I hope her family is doing okay. I’m sorry for your loss.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have never been in that situation, but please don’t be too hard on yourself. You didn’t know and you are far away. If you live closer and you knew, I’m sure things would have been different.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. I actually dealt with something similar and I will never, ever forget it. I’m still truly sorry for your loss and I know have you must be feeling. Hugs.

  11. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend! This is just a reminder that we all need to make a little more effort to connect more often and tell our loved ones how much they mean to us as often as possible. Big hugs to you!

  12. I am so sorry for your loss, April. I have been in the same situation just a few months back. A long time friend, a former co-worker died of a heart attack. We occasionally chatted on Facebook, but he never mentioned anything about an illness. I thought his weight loss was just his way of trying to be fit. It broke my heart to see him laying in a coffin… 🙁

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. It is so important to stay in touch and let your loved ones know you love them everyday. You just never know what tomorrow brings.

  14. First, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my best friend in high school. I had been on vacation and she passed while I was gone. I carried that guilt of not being there for a long time. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.

  15. I can just understand what you might be going through & am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It is always going to be so hurting when you lose the loved ones.

  16. My condolences to your friend’s family and to you on her passing. May the Peace that passeth all understanding come upon you all and comfort you. Take care.

  17. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s amazing how fast things can totally change. I’ve experienced it here before too.. 🙁

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss. My husband’s father passed away last year suddenly. His parents were always too busy for us, so we didn’t have a close relationship with them. But when it happened my husband felt very guilty for not trying harder to spend time with him.

  19. I’m so sorry for the loss I never been in that situation but please don’t feel guilty i know you try your best.

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. Don’t be too hard on yourself, life gets hectic and we all lost touch with our friends for months at a time – it is nothing to feel guilty about 🙂 hugs xoxo

  21. There is no way you could have possibly known, and yet we all still find ways to place blame on ourselves. I think its because it helps give us something to focus on besides helplessness. Atleast that was my experience when my grandfather passed away. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that in time, your pain eases.

  22. I am so sorry to for the loss. Life moves so quickly, and sometimes we just get sucked into a vacuum that does not let us out to absorb all that needs to be done. I do hope your pain eases and you let your self move forward:)

  23. Sadly, I don’t keep in touch with family as much as I would like to. I’m praying you find comfort and we both make time for those relationships.

  24. your post had me in tears yes I have been there it was my 6 year old brother who had the same syndrome that Bella and I’ve he passed away in Toronto and I’m in Michigan with immigration stuff going on so yes I get complety what you feel in a way everyone feels this differenlty. saying I’m sorry for your lost just doesn’t cut it sometimes. There just are not words for this kind of thing. I also felt this way when my friend who like your friend we can go a year or two and not talk and then bam were best buddies and like things never changed but her mom passed away and it left me so sad because I couldn’t be there because I am in in Michigan.
    I have to take things one minute at a time and I live life as if it was my last since my brothers passing as that’s how he would want me to.

  25. It is difficult to lose a long time friend even if you are not real close. It is thoughts of good memories that will bring acceptance. One so young with a family is hard.

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