She’s been gone for a couple years now, but for me, she left over ten years before that. I’m thinking about her now because once in a while she comes up in my mind when there’s something that happens and it reminds me of her. This time, it was the untimely death of a member in our family. Just like her, our family member’s life has been cut short by cancer.
My friend, Becki, was 49 years old when she died a couple of years ago. We were only two months apart in age. I found out from her daughter, who contacted me through my son, to let me know she had terminal cancer and she hadn’t much longer to live. You see, when I got that phone call, Becki and I had been out of touch for almost 10 years.
When I think about the friendship we once had, it was one of those close sister relationships. I met her in nursing school and we became fast friends. We spent a lot of time together, going through our classes and studying. We graduated nursing school together in 1991. Most people part ways after uni, but we stayed friends. We got our first jobs, worked together, had babies, celebrated holidays and raised our children together. Any life problems I had, I’d run to her for support. She was my rock. I loved her and I loved her kids as if they were my own.
Then we decided to do something stupid together. We decided to start a business. That f*cking business.
It was an opportunity that landed in our laps because of our specialty of nursing, so we ran with it. It was successful, and the bigger it got, the more it divided us. She started a slow burn of sabotage against me. She avoided me by not coming in the office when I was there. She started hiding the financials from me. She made business decisions without my input. She bullied and sabotaged me in little ways, from changing out my computer one day without my approval, to negating my supervision of our employees. I slowly built up resentment and disrespect for her, while trying to figure out how to better an impossible situation. Every day there was a different kind of hell I had to face in that business.
Then one day she and her husband confronted me. They insisted I give up a portion of my part of the company to her husband, because she didn’t want him to be left out of this cash cow we created. This would give them control in the major decision-making, and she made it very clear that I was outnumbered. Instead, I gave all of it up to them with a meagre buyout, shut the door behind me and never spoke to her again.
Not until her daughter called me 10 years later to tell me she was dying.
When Mamamia’s Briony Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to share a message about the value of living. Post continues after video.