Nov. 15, 2019
This time of year, I am thankful for many things. It’s that less chaotic time when the kids have acclimated to school and we’re in a routine. It’s that sweet time between the craziness of my daughter and husband’s mutual birthday, Halloween, and tons of business travel and the wonderful chaos of the Christmas season. Between Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations. Between fall and winter weather. The air smells like wood-burning fires and I feel cozy.
It’s also a sad time. November 17th marks the sixth anniversary of my college roommate’s daughter’s death. Caitrin was six-years old when she passed away from brain cancer. She was diagnosed in January of 2013 and died just over 10 months later. This unfathomable situation is still, six years later, shocking to the core. Every year around this time, my friend, Becky, posts pictures of the family and Caitrin that she hasn’t ever posted before. When I see these pictures, I can’t help but dream of what could have been. Even though Becky and her family live in the Chicago area, I envisioned that Caitrin and my daughter, Emma, would become great friends and maybe even end up in college together. I can only imagine the dreams that Becky and her husband, Joe, revisit this time of year. They are incredibly strong and have shown their son, Luke, how to push forward while always remembering Caitrin. They are big supporters of childhood cancer research and Becky volunteers at Ronald McDonald House. In short, they have honored Caitrin’s memory and are working to help other families experiencing cancer and seeking to prevent these tragedies in the future. And yet, my heart breaks.
It is such a cruel and stark reminder that this life is fleeting and that we should be thankful everyday for the moments we have with our family, friends, coworkers and pets. I am thankful – even when my girls don’t clean their room or forget to turn in their homework, or my husband forgets to pick up the dry cleaning. They are here and healthy and I love them dearly.
As I begin to transition out of my role as UTC CEO and into the role of APPA CEO, I want the UTC “family” of staff and members to know that I am also thankful for them. The bottom line is, even when they weren’t always thankful for me – when I was pushing for change or barking orders or any of the myriad things that were annoying – I was, and am, thankful for them…until we meet again.