Light Notes

Another God-given chance to connect with Gloria

Do we get second chances in life?

I think we do, in more ways than one.

My first “second chance” happened in 2003 at my 40th high school reunion.

Gloria — who wasn’t my friend yet — was seated at a table with other classmates. Even though the group didn’t look familiar, I was determined to greet everyone before the evening ended.

As we chatted, Gloria confided that this was her very first class reunion. I shared that I’d been to each one. We reminisced how in a California school of almost 3,000 that our paths hadn’t crossed.

But on that night, she and I connected. It was a second chance for friendship.

In the months that followed, we emailed. She learned that I had been through breast cancer earlier that year. I learned about her family, a new vacation home in Mexico, and other slices of her life.

Then, about a year later, she broke the news that she was going through breast cancer. As friends do, we conferred, consoled and shared tears. Friendship offered strength for the journey.

Gloria became a survivor. Life took on normalcy again.

Then one day, the news came that she faced cancer’s challenge again. As the weeks flew by, I became complacent, lost in a world of my own.

I was sure Gloria would beat the “Big C” again this time.

But she didn’t. And that second chance for friendship slipped away, leaving remorse as my constant companion. Regret over losing contact with my friend during her time of need troubled me deeply and has continued to do so.

And yet, I think God sees our heart and the grief that lingers.

Recently, Gloria’s daughter — Celina — discovered my email address in a Christmas card. She sent the glorious news that she and her husband have had their first baby, little Rex Joseph.

Celina also asked me to be her friend on Facebook.

For me, this is another “second chance” — one that feels like a hug from Heaven.