I went to visit the doctor on Monday, because I am getting old. My purpose was to see if there was anything the doctor could do to keep me from coming apart at the seams, which is getting harder and harder by the day as any one could tell you. This time it was my shoulder. Twenty years of swimming and other forms of abuse that I have inflicted on it have begun to take their toll and I was hoping we could keep it operational for at least another dozen years before we have to crack it open and do something more artificial to it. So he made some suggestions, passed me a script for some medication to maybe make it a little less painful to move, and I returned to work.
I only wish it were that simple for others. I lost another friend this month. Nelda was a unique person. I had worked with her at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington for more than seven years. She had one of those conditions where the doctor smiles politely and suggests you get your affairs in order and enjoy the time you have like. To hear Nelda tell it, each time she heard it, she would laugh. I only found out that she was in the hospital the week before she passed and again, the doctors told her it was time. Only I am sure this time she did not laugh.
Nelda was fun. She was a fan of Doctor Who before it was fashionable to be a fan of Doctor Who. She liked the old doctors. She had great stories about her time in the army, talked fondly of her family and was always bring me problems to solve and happy to occasionally stump me. I believe she did it once. Maybe twice. She was detail oriented. The only person I knew who could write epistles on a BlackBerry, with out a grammatical or spelling error. Even nicely formatted. She had a better grasp on network security than even some of the most experienced CISSPs I know and a keen business sense of when security would impact business operations. And as many people would tell you, she had a steel trap memory. She did not forget a detail, a meeting, or a decision. And did I mention her Barbie collection?
We buried Nelda today, with military honours due her rank and service. Her friends, family were at the service, and at the burial site at Quantico. When the sun comes out, and the trees are in bloom I will go back and take a picture. And say good bye.