When I first started this blog, it was supposed to be about my parents and all the things they are going through and my thoughts etc. But now I believe the perils of aging encompasses a lot more things. For instance when people get sick how the body ages it and sometimes a person dies from the aging.
That’s the case with my friend Alyson Sayuk-Rodriguez. I know as I write this I will cry all the way through it. I try my best to be a closet crier. You know the kind – only cries in the car or the shower. The shower is best because you come out with red eyes but you do anyway when you take a shower.
I’m crying because my friend died on December 3rd, just a week after she turned 33. If you don’t know the story, you may ask how did that happen to a 33 year-old. I’ll tell you how, but that’s not really important except for the part about the perils of aging. Alyson was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer back in January or February 2011. I remember when I found out. I was on Facebook one Sunday morning, hadn’t seen Alyson since my birthday in December, and saw that she got married. I had no idea why she did that when she was planning a wedding for October 1st. I remember when she and Carlos first set their wedding date. It was almost two years out. I asked her over cocktails, why wait so long and my patient friend Alyson said why not. She and Carlos were having such a great life and they were happy and it didn’t really matter! So okay, what could I say. Alyson, being just 31 at the time was so much wiser than I was at 31! But that’s why I liked her so much.
Alyson & Luciana at my birthday party 12-10-2010
So back to the first marriage. Once I saw the photos on Facebook, I sent a text and asked what was up? Did they decide to forego the October wedding? She texted back no, they were still doing the big wedding. I asked, why two weddings. Then she told me about her diagnosis. I was stunned. She said the doctors were optimistic. I didn’t believe her. I wanted to believe her, but I just couldn’t. But there was no way in hell I was going to be negative . The power of positive thinking is really important. So I kept thinking positive thoughts and sending her positive thoughts. I sent Alyson some emails and texts here and there, asking her how she was doing. At one point she said she was doing a second round of chemo. She really didn’t feel up to doing lunch because she wasn’t feeling well from the chemo. At one point, Alyson said she’d be the only bride ever who had to gain weight to fit into her wedding dress.
So I got the save the date card in the mail, and then finally the wedding invitation. As expected, October 1st was the date. This was a long time for me to go without seeing Alyson. We used to get together more frequently for lunch or drinks after work and give each other the scoop on our lives.
I met Alyson back when she was a carrier rep. Fresh from college, she went to work for Standard of Oregon. After a few years, she worked for Assurant, then on to a general agency, LISI. Many people in the insurance field are torn between two aspects of the job, sales and service. Sales means more money and more pressure, service means less money, a little less pressure, but for those who like it, satisfaction that you are helping people. Alyson was really good at detail. I mean really good. As a sales rep, she would actually complete as much of the application as possible, so as a broker, I just had to look over a few things, mark a couple of boxes and sign my name. Now that was great service.
But Alyson was so much more than a sales and service person. We used to golf together. We golfed with my friend Sharon Rettig. We would just play nine holes for fun. Alyson would never walk like Sharon and I, but insisted on taking a cart. She said part of the fun was driving the golf cart. You gotta love that!
Alyson and I played golf in several industry tournaments. We actually play a beautiful course in Half Moon Bay once and our team came in dead last. I was really pissed but Alyson thought it was hysterical. I left my loser trophy under the table when we left. I huffed off indignant that the tournament would give us such an embarrassing thing. But Alyson proudly took her trophy home to show Carlos that she finally won a golf trophy. I wish I would have kept my trophy.
I miss my friend and I can’t stop thinking about her. I keep going back to her Facebook page. That’s where I saw her wedding pictures and that’s where I saw the post from Carlos that she died on December 3, 2011.
Alyson had an aggressive form of cancer that just took her from us. Sometimes it just happens and there’s nothing we can do about it. It ravaged her and aged her and then her body was done. I’m glad she’s not in pain. She was a real trooper. Alyson didn’t want anyone to know about the suffering. If she saw me sitting here crying, like I’m actually doing right now, she would tell me to get over it and that’s just life.
All in good time my friend. All in good time.