My friend Josette died a few days ago. It was too early for her to go, but she did. Josette was 53 years old, she left work early on Wednesday because she wasn’t feeling well, went home so that she could put her feet up and rest and went to bed. She woke up Thursday morning, began to get ready for work and collapsed. The paramedics were able to bring her back, but she collapsed again and this time there was no return.
Josette George Kaufman
I loved Josette very much. She was a kind and gentle woman, and she had an inner desire to be the bad girl, which I adored. She loved what she did, and like most women, did so much. Her sorority sisterhood, her work with the Lake Worth Tree Board and most of all her work as the Executive Director of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation. I think that the best part that Josette loved about the Marshall Foundation was how she was able to bring children and nature together.

I have but one regret about my friendship with Josette, I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. You see, my life can be at times a bit crazy…no, make that insane! With all of the philanthropy work I do, I spend much of my time running from one meeting to another, or one volunteer shift to another or when I’m doing something for myself, to bring awareness to myself as a Certified Coach and my work with individuals, or speaking to womens groups or other organizations, I’m running to networking events.

On Tuesday, it was a bit cold down here in South Florida and I’d been wearing a sweater dress with black tights and boots all day. I’d had several meetings during the day and a networking event Tuesday night with the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches at Boston’s On The Beach, Sand Bar in Delray Beach. I had brought some more comfortable clothes to change into for the Networking event and was trying to think of where I would change. I almost stopped at Josette’s office. Driving down I-95, I had plenty of time to stop, could have used her restroom to change, visited with her and her Mom, Nancy Marshall for a bit, and then went to the networking event. But, traffic was heavy and I said to myself, “Oh, I’ll see her on Thursday for the Gallery Show on behalf of the Marshall Foundation,” so I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop…that is one of the biggest regrets I will have for the rest of my life.

I didn’t get to see Josette again. She died. On Thursday, the show to bring awareness and donations to the Marshall Foundation turned into a gathering to honor Josette’s life. There was a beautiful picture of her that had been put together with quite a few other items relating to her life and that was it. Josette wasn’t there, smiling and greeting everyone, instead there was a pastor who spoke on behalf of Nancy and John Marshall. There were stories about Josette that people spoke of, there were laughs when we recalled something funny and there were lots of shocked faces and tears everywhere.

If there’s any lessons here, I can think of at least 2 off the top of my head and I’m certain that as time goes by, more lessons will be revealed. #1 – take care of yourself, if you find yourself not feeling well, if you’re constantly tired, if you feel that something is just not right, don’t put it off…go to the Doctor and tell them what’s going on with you and take care of YOU. Don’t put yourself last, put yourself first, because if you don’t take care of yourself, then really…you can’t do all the other things that you want to do. And, #2 – Follow your instincts, listen to the voice in your head and if you have an opportunity to visit with a friend, even if it’s only for a few minutes, take it, seize that opportunity, because you never ever know if that might be the last opportunity that you have to spend with them

Josette George Kaufman, I love you, I always will. I had lunch with your mom today at Belle and Maxwell’s, I know you loved that place. I’ve got some big decisions to make and I keep hearing your voice in my head saying to me “Take care of my Mom.” I’ll take care of her Josette…don’t you worry. As you watch over us and look down on us with your wonderful, beautiful smile, you will often hear me say “I miss you Josette” or “tell me what to do”, but know this…I will take care of her for you.

I love you, Robbyn