I received a call from my MIL this morning that a woman I knew in CT had passed this morning. I started to bawl as soon as the phone was back on the hook.
I worked in a Connecticut salon for a while after leaving insurance sales. I found I could not live with myself another minute and I took my commissions from the Devil and bolted. The salon was owned by 2 women; one I found to be the funnest floozy and the other, not so fun one, was preparing for maternity leave. So I took the job. It turned out to be one of those places where I didn't fit and I didn't mind. As soon as a newly coiffed head hit the door to leave, comments about that person started. Needless to say it was soon apparent "Nita don't play that" and as such, I was kind of ostracized. Fine by me. I was making great money and I'm not one of those people that worry what others think of me when I consider the others to be asshats. So there's that.
My attitude led the remaining owner to send each and every 'difficult' client my way. What a blessing. I found them, without exception, to be fun and smart and lovely and equally out of place in that salon. One of those women saved my bacon when I had Rio. She lived close, visited often, and as a former nurse she really helped me believe everything would be okay. We are still in touch at least weekly.
Another was the woman who passed yesterday. Brilliant. Imposing. Beautiful. And I loved her from the first time I met her. She had been in the habit of bringing a pile of work with her so while her color was processing she would sit quietly and work work work. The first time she was given to me (without her being asked which is a grande salon no-no) we talked for hours. None of her work was done and we were on the way to a fine friendship. When I left that salon, she came with me and brought her whole lovely family. She was one of the few people invited to submit themselves to a Purell bath so they could hold the baby Rio. I really did love that woman.
She encouraged me to continue my studies. She attended my graduation party, complete with insane relatives, and told all who would listen of my GPA and honors. She told me she was proud I attended her alma mater.
She changed things for the better as a career and was too often vilified in the local press. It mattered not to her. She knew her compass was true and she endeavored to leave this place a little better than she found. She did.
She was 56 and gorgeous inside and out. I will miss her greatly and I'm not even sure what else to say except that just when I think I can't get too much sadder, well, turns out I can.