by Yvonne DiVita #friendshipendures
“This is an amazing event,” she said as we met in the narrow hall of the exhibit area for BlogPaws Denver, 2010. Her blue eyes sparkled like a sunny afternoon in June.
I have to admit, I was pleased with all the praise coming our way. The event was the second BlogPaws, here in Denver, back in our launch year. I remember the conversation so well because having someone of the stature of Dr. Lorie Huston compliment you is not something you forget.
“Thank you,” I said. We shook hands. We talked a bit more about why BlogPaws was created and how it could serve the veterinary world. We had a Vet track at the conference and Dr. Lorie was especially interested in that.
That was the start of an enduring friendship, and she accepted an invitation to join our unofficial board, which met mostly by phone each month. I came to rely on her insight and expertise. I came to appreciate her knowledge not only of blogging (wow, a veterinarian who blogs!), and using blogs effectively for a veterinary practice, but for many other things; for business, for life, for the good health of my pets, even for inspiration. Dr. Lorie inspired me to be more than I am, better than I am, and kinder to others.
During our friendship I never heard a harsh word about anyone, from her. That’s a cliché, I know. However, with Dr. Lorie as we all called her, it was true. She epitomized the kind and gentle veterinary professional – as good with her patients’ humans as she was with her patients, themselves.
I remember last year being so upset about a certain incident, really hurt by it, and Dr. Lorie sitting across from me at a separate event we were both attending, looking at me with sympathy. There was a sincerity there, and calmness, that I badly needed at that moment.
“I don’t think they meant it that way,” she said, in her quiet husky voice. She understood, but wanted to help me overcome the feelings of anger clearly evident in my scowl, my hard sighs, even my gaze, no doubt. “I know them pretty well and I bet they were just confused.”
“Perhaps,” I said. I could feel my heart calm. “I just don’t get it… why would they do that?”
“Everyone makes mistakes.” The look on her face said, “Try to forgive.” And so, I did.
And, I discovered the issue was as much my fault as anyone’s. So, I reached out, I talked it through, and I made amends. Because Dr. Lorie was so right – every story has two ways of telling, and yours might be partly right, while the other person’s is also partly right. Together, you need to let go of acrimony and agree to move on. When I told Dr. Lorie what I’d done, she gave me that amazing smile and I felt reborn.
“If you were here now, Dr. Lorie,” I say to her this morning, in the silence we have embraced, the little bit of space we are taking to say the goodbyes we did not get to say to her, on that horrible day this week that we learned of her passing, “I’d tell you how much I appreciated the time you gave me; time to vent, time to laugh, time to share and learn together. I’d tell you how much I valued our friendship. I’d remember the times we had at BlogPaws and WIPIN, where you looked so beautiful, with your hair all done up and your smile as bright as all the stars in the sky, and I’d listen to your stories from your vet conferences or the times you were at AAHA with Tom.
“I’d tell you how much I admire you because you bring such grace and honor to all that you do. I’d ask about your cats – how is it I never asked about your cats? <sigh> I’d tell you stories about Emily and Olive and Molly. And I’d cry with you over the loss of my beautiful Chester.
“If you were here, I’d ask about the learning center we’re building and get your advice on what to include and I’d thank you for sharing so much with me, over these few years we knew each other.
“If you were here, I’d hug you again and take a picture with you and I’d make sure the whole world knew what a treasure you are to the veterinary world, the pet community, and to me… in my silly, eventful life…often full of drama and a bit of spectacle... offered by the company I keep. None of whom hold a candle to you.
“If you were here, I’d focus on our plans for next year – how we decided to conquer the world together, laughing, joking, but serious in our own way. I’d write down my thoughts and you’d write yours down, and we’d put them in order and we’d make them happen. We’d create that landscape where pets and people and veterinarians and brands that serve us would all get along and make life better for each animal and the world would understand that the human-animal bond is as vital a part of our lives as human beings as breathing or sleeping or loving one another. And, I’d be glad to have you at my side.
“If you were here…”
But you are not. You are somewhere else. Somewhere I cannot reach you now. You were taken too soon and too quickly and I cannot understand why that is.
I will miss you forever.