A tribute to a coworker and friend, Allison Elaine Flint, who passed away Friday at the young age of thirty-four...
I’d like to share with you one of my last conversations with Allison, in which she expressed the value of life and every moment within it.
After she came back to work after having her initial surgery, she “ticked”! Allison had an artificial valve placed in her heart, which resulted in a quiet, but ever present, ticking noise. I first noticed it when sitting beside of her in a team meeting. I said to her, “Do you hear a ticking noise!” She gave me a sarcastic look, pointed at her chest, and said, “It’s me!” I had no idea; but after she said that, I recognized the familiar sound as I had an aunt with the same mechanical valve and the same
From that moment on, my mission was to try to make Allison comfortable with “the tick” by simply getting her to laugh about it. Sometimes I would look at my wrist, as if checking my watch, to “see where the ticking was coming from”; and she would just laugh and roll her eyes at me. And I developed a nickname for her, calling her “Tick Tock”. A few times I said, “Allison – you are the ‘bomb’!” Anything to get a laugh out of her and to cause her to share her beautiful smile with me, which she did so freely, and very often!
In one of our last team meetings, we were passing notes back and forth (yes – like you do in school or church); and I asked her if she still noticed the ticking and if it ever bothered her. Her reply was, “At first, it bothered me. But now, every time I hear it (the ‘tick’), I say ‘thank you Jesus’!” And then she shared another of her warm smiles with me. In this conversation, I was made to know that Allison was not only aware of her mortality, but also that she was thankful for every moment that she had to share with her family and friends.
I remember seeing Allison around campus before I ever had the chance to meet her. At first glimpse, it was easy to see that she was a beautiful woman! She had skin like a porcelain doll and a contagious smile that would cause you to smile back at her while passing in the hall, whether you knew her or not. And later in our careers, I was privileged to get to know her; and found her to be as beautiful on the inside as she was on the out – a person of high morals and values. All of these things I will remember; but I think what I will remember the most – is “the tick”. All too often, we take life and good health for granted; but every once in a while, we should stop and consider not only our own “tick”, but also the “ticks” of others – living life to the fullest, and ending it without regret.
Thank you, Allison, for spending some of your ticks with me!