They say she died in his arms. 30 years together…best friends, companions, lovers. She had the fight of her life, battling a disease that eventually got the best of her. Arriving at work last Wednesday, we all got a very sad email about how the wife of a coworker lost her battle with cancer (multiple myeloma). She was taken to the emergency room last friday, and I hear that she told everyone not to worry, and that she would be fine. Four days later, she died. The email said she died while he was holding her, her life taken away from all those who around her – all those who loved her.

I knew her only through the stories that my coworker told me, the smile he would get on his face when referring to what she said or did, and how they lived their lives together. I thought of that as I watched him say goodbye to her while they lowered her casket into the ground – as each of us took a small bit of earth and helped to lay her body to rest. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a soulmate the way he did, to witness someone so very close to you whither away right in front of your eyes.

This day was life-changing. I was reminded that our time here is temporary, and that we all must cherish and savour each moment we have with our family, our friends and ourselves. We must give freely and be humbled by a world that is so much bigger than us. We must remember that there is something greater that us, and not to take this gift of life for granted. We must treat everyone with respect and compassion, regardless of our differences.

I was also reminded of how important it is to be able to say goodbye. I never had the chance to do that with both of my parents when they passed away – now there is no gravestone, no place to go to say goodbye and to get the closure that now I realize is oh so important. There is no way to go back there now, so closure must be found in another way.

To pay our respects, we ask that a donation be given to the Multiple Myeloma Foundation, http://www.myeloma.org/.