By Colleen Cottrill

In March, I started a new job.  During this tumultuous time in my life, I was blessed by the compassion and thoughtfulness of a good friend and previous colleague of mine, Fran.  She gave me a beautiful plant to put on my desk to remember my old team by, and then, at 10:30 on my first day in the new job, Fran sent me an e-mail that simply read:  “It’s banana time.”  This probably sounds like a really strange thing to do, but I cannot express how much these few words meant to me.  You see, on my old team, we all had a habit of bringing in a morning snack (needless to say, it was usually a banana!) and eating it mid-morning.  This small gesture brought familiarly to my foreign new world.

Only 5 days later, I received some horrifying news:  my beautiful, vibrant, life-cherishing co-worker, Fran, had passed away unexpectedly during routine surgery at the age of 46.  It’s hard to convey just how deeply and positively this woman had impacted my life over the years.  The blessing in disguise of starting a new job only a few days before her death was that it afforded me the opportunity to say goodbye and tell her just what she meant to me.

In the weeks that followed, God really placed on my heart that I consider reaching out to her family somehow.  The shape that it took was a letter to her husband sharing the countless stories from our workplace of the legacy she had left, the difference she had made.  I couldn’t think of a better Scripture verse to encourage her family by than this, with which I concluded the letter:

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world”  John 16:33 NLT

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