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Brenda, a former co-worker, that I hadn't seen in several years passed away last Sunday. I only found out last night while thumbing through some of the week's newspapers before recycling them and I spotted her picture in the obituaries. Her services were yesterday morning. Her obituary said that she was predeceased by her husband and three brothers. She is survived by a son, thirteen siblings, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Brenda was only 62 years old.

Brenda was an older African American female and I am a younger Southern white male. We worked together for an Economic Development Commission. We immediately became the best of friends and shared a very similar sense of humor. Just about every time we ran across each other at work, we would both break out into big wide grins. Our co-workers knew when we were in the kitchen together from the loud laughing. Brenda was so vibrant, full of life and an energy that made you feel great to be in her presence. I believe one of Brenda's greatest joys was a cruise that she took with six of her sisters a few years ago. I feel such a crushing in my heart and chest today.

This morning at the flea market, I ran across a small Victorian booklet containing a poem. Brenda, my friend, this is for you.

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Love of all Life's gifts is dearest;
And to those we cherish,
Hie our fondest and sincerest
Thoughts, that never perish.
In my heart love
lives, and saith;

"Blessings sweet as Rose's breath,
Hover aye about thee!
For, with thee, the world is rife
With each Bliss that Blesses life,
But is bland without thee!"

June may perish in December,
And the sun arise and set,
But, to cherish and remember,
Never shall true Love forget!

Time and place may serve
Hearts that fondly love;
But remembrance never
Absence shall remove;
For love lies forever
Here, and there, above!

Like a blissful chime,
Ringing where thou art,
Love beats tuneful time
to my beating heart!

And to every beat
of this heart of mine,
Bids me aye repeat
No dear name - but thine.

True love never ceases,
But with time increases,
Loving still more dearly!
True love never changes,
and no change enstranges
Hearts that love sincerely.

Brenda, I'm sorry we didn't stay in touch. I truly believe there is a higher purpose for everyone that crosses our path in life. Despite our ethnic, gender, regional and age differences, we were true soul friends. I truly look forward to the day when we can again see each other and break out into our huge wide grins. Take care dear friend. The clouds came out when you left.  

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