I couldn’t believe that text….. it must be a mistake. It seemed like I had just left a condolence message on her voicemail hoping we would connect, but knowing all too well how her heart was breaking by the loss of her dear sister, I would just give her time.
Terry and I were work buddies. Whether we were giving each other the all knowing side eye, or just commiserating about life in general, we “got each other.”
We both retired from corporate life four years ago. She lived in the Midwest, and I was a recent transplant from New York to Florida. We both bought new homes at almost the exact same time, and we both had new grandchildren. Life was busy and blessed.
The last time Terry and I had an in-depth conversation, we talked about how life was unpredictable at best but we knew full well how to turn lemons into lemonade because we’ve both had plenty of practice. She told me that retirement had not turned out exactly as she planned because she was dealing with some health issues but she had the best team of doctors at her disposal. She was confident, upbeat, and looking forward to decorating her new house with her daughter’s expertise, spending time with her new granddaughter, thanks to her son and his lovely wife, and getting well. In spite of everything life was good.
I always took pleasure in seeing pictures of Terry, her mother, sisters and daughter because truthfully, it was so hard to tell “who was the mother?” Each and every one of the Henderson women were beauties in their own right. The fact that they had an inseparable bond was all the more enviable. What joy they exuded.
I’ve only had a brief memorable encounter with Terry’s mother. I had written an article for a golf magazine that Terry was aware of. In discussing my article with her mother, her mother asked Terry if I could send her a copy of which I did. Terry’s mother sent me a beautifully written thank you note that quite honestly, to this day, made me feel like such an accomplished author!
A few years ago, Terry and I spent a whirlwind weekend trip in New York City. From the second I picked her up at LaGuardia Airport we were off and running. Rockefeller Center, Times Square, The Jersey Boys on Broadway, the Staten Island Ferry, Ellis Island, the water taxi at South Sea Seaport, the Empire State Building, dinners at the best NYC restaurants, a heart thumping ride in a pedal cab down 7th Ave. finally culminating at Point Lookout beach on Long Island, we did it all. By the time I dropped Terry off at the airport on Sunday evening, in order to catch her evening flight back to Kansas City, our friendship was forever changed.
Terry was a mentor to so many of the girls of the Kansas City Girls Choir, she was a model for Dark and Lovely cosmetics and Hallmark Greeting Cards, she starred in television commercials, was the consummate sales professional at Johnson and Johnson, and a devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend. Terry was able to do it all with class, dignity and a joy of life.
Friends come into each other’s lives for a reason and a season and I am so blessed that Terry came into mine. Her life was full, successful, and the epitome of love and grace. I am heartbroken that her light has diminished but do take comfort and solace by the fact that her light will never be extinguished.
Rest in peace my friend.