This morning when I logged into Facebook, one of my notifications was that a friend had invited me to “like” our mutual friend Cherie Woodworth’s new Facebook page.
What cool thing has Cherie done now, I wondered? A new book? Some interesting project? With her seemingly boundless energy and her Yale Ph.D., the sky seems the limit for someone like her.
Here’s what she has done: She just died of cancer.
Apparently she was only diagnosed four weeks ago, and the disease spread incredibly fast. Her friend Adriana writes:
This morning when I got into work, I found a message waiting for me. It was from the husband of a friend of mine: “Cherie passed away Tuesday from metastatic cancer…” Cherie, who I’d known nearly 20 years. Cancer?!? What cancer? I scrolled through my emails to find the last time I’d heard from her. It was June 14, when she congratulated a mutual friend on a new job: “Great news!” she’d said. “What are you looking forward to in your new job?” She was diagnosed with cancer just a week after that, June 22. It ravaged her quickly.
I also didn’t know she was sick. I have fallen out of touch with her, as happens too many times with too many people.
I loved her sense of humor. One of my best memories of Cherie was that in the late 1990s, before we had grown suspicious of emailed stories, she wrote a satire piece and sent it out to some friends. It was a made-up, funny story about some kids in Brigham City, Utah playing “Farmer in the Dell” in a uniquely Mormon way. But the newswire picked it up as real news (!). And as you can see here, it wasn’t the last time one of Cherie’s brilliant pieces of satire fooled the media.
I am so sorry for Cherie’s family to bear this loss — sorry for her two kids to grow up without her constant sense of fun, sorry for her husband in losing his cherished partner. And I’m sorry for her friends. Adriana Velez’s blog post is spot on when she writes:
Pay attention to your loved ones, your children, your friends. Especially your oldest friends, the ones we think will be around forever just because it seems like they’ve always been there. No one is a permanent part of your life.
Wise words. Last night I had the joy of reconnecting with an old friend from the Princeton days, who came to Cincinnati for dinner and spent the night. We had such a great time. I need to make a point of keeping those connections open. Life is too precious not to cling to old friends.
Rest in peace, Cherie. You have touched many lives with your intelligence and wit. I feel lucky to have known you, even a little.
And Lord, receive her spirit into your presence. She will make you laugh.