I lost another client Wednesday. Linda (who I sometimes refer to as "Glinda", because she's such a nice lady) had been my client for two years. She's been my salon owner's client for more than 10y. Many years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a lot of treatment & time, she beat it. Just before she started coming to me, she was diagnosed with bone cancer (apparently, not related to the breast cancer). She's been fighting it all this time, but the last round of treatment wasn't working. She had missed more appointments than she made over the last three months, and I knew it was coming.
It started, for me, about six months ago. She was telling me that her last doc appt didn't go well, and her doc wanted her to try this new treatment. It was supposedly less harsh than traditional chemo & radiation, so she agreed. She missed an appt here & there, but (if she didn't call the morning of) always called or texted me by that evening to apologize. At the next one, she would insist on paying me for the missed appt (that is my policy, btw).
Three and a half weeks ago, she asked for a pedicure appt. We scheduled it for the following week, added on to her existing nail appt. That Sunday, I realized I already had her in my books for a pedi on that Tuesday. I called her house on Monday, spoke to her husband, Dale; I explained the double-book and asked which worked better for them. He answered, "She has some other appointments on Tuesday, so let's leave it on Thursday." Then, no show & no phone call on Thursday. I called both her cell phone & their house phone, and left messages, but got no call back. That's when I knew something was seriously wrong.
My salon owner told me that the following Tuesday (Aug 5th), Dale came into the salon to talk to me, but since I wasn't there, he left. Thursday morning, after dropping off my daughter & her friend at the airport, I went to the salon and there was a note on my desk from him. In it, he told me she was at the hospital, going to be released for home hospice, and he wanted me to call him to arrange for one last manicure for Linda at their house.
I did call, and we decided on the following Wednesday, if she was up for it. He then called me Monday to cancel. It was then that I told him to please make sure she knew I loved her. I texted my salon's owner at that point, unsure if Dale had called her, too... I got the last call this past Thursday. Dale let me know how much I meant to Linda, that everyone (even the hospice nurses) commented on how beautiful her nails were, and to let me know there will be a "Celebration Of Life" in October; Linda would want me there if I'm up for it. I got off the phone, and cried.
We grow close to our clients, and a lot of them become "like family", but Linda WAS family. There was a grandparent-like quality to our relationship, and I looked forward to visiting with her every week to catch up on her life (kids, dogs, husband, travels, etc) and to catch her up on mine (I shared more than surface stuff with her; she got details I didn't share with most people about all the legal stuff we've been doing - our accident, Ace's reworked child support, my ex's antics, etc). She was the only client who hugged me after her appts. I am grateful for those, and will hold on to those memories forever.