Posts Tagged With: cancer sucks

I Missed Celebrating an Important Birthday

Photo by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA (Candles) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA (Candles) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

I missed celebrating an Important Birthday!

Actually, I didn’t really miss it. I thought about it all that day.

I just avoided acknowledging it out loud.

Today I spent time with the birthday girl’s daughter-in-law. We talked about life with Kathy. It felt good and more than okay to say her name; the twinge I usually get when I talk about her out loud didn’t pinch quite so much. Not sure why.

Anyway, that bit of conversation knocked open a closed door. Which makes it possible to share this song that gut-punched me a year ago.

By that I mean the song spoke right to my heart, my head, my spirit.

Yeah, I’ve kept it to myself for a while now. Well, I did share it with MSH, cuz he already gets it. If no one else gets it, that’s okay.

I had decided long before birthday time that I’d share this on her day. And then I couldn’t. Didn’t. Refused to. Which, looking back, seems selfish. So I’ve included this gem by Sarah McLachlan from Toy Story 2. Listen with your ears and with your heart and you’ll get a glimpse of friendship at its most real.

The relationship Kathy and I had changed me. What a gift she was and continues to be for me. She taught me to love myself, to embrace the weird wonderfulness of me. It doesn’t get much better than what we had. What a blessing!

Happy Belated Birthday Kathy, my friend. No regrets! Love ya!

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” ~ Shel Silverstein

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Categories: Friendship | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Missing Words and Missing People

It’s Gratituesday. Today I feel profound gratitude for the five years I enjoyed with my best friend Kathy. She passed away early on Friday.

A Lincoln rose, Kathy's favorite.

A Lincoln rose, Kathy’s favorite.

She was ready for it.  For her, death arrived with relief and peace and hope.

We had talked openly and frequently about death during her war years with cancer. Turns out that theory and talk didn’t prepare me for this reality.

I’ve never seen anyone with such a capacity for honesty and directness. Never one to beat around a bush, Kathy simply says what she thinks. And somehow, through charm or charisma, or that cutesy high-pitched teenage voice, she gets away with it. In fact, I’ve found myself emulating her straightforward ways and am all the better for it.

Spunky, gutsy, and get ‘er done doesn’t quite do her justice. If she set her mind to something you’d better get out of the way or pick up a hammer and get to work beside her. Determination resonates as her middle name.

Hand in hand with such spunk is her fearlessness which still dazzles me. My breath catches when I think of the countless number of times she faced a new chemo treatment, another experimental drug, another bone biopsy. Courage of astounding proportions resided in that heart of hers.

She wrapped her all around her children and her husband. Family first, family always. We talked more about her family than any other topics combined. She loves that bunch of people with every bit of herself. Literally and figuratively.

Her fierce capacity for love, listening, acceptance and caring radiated and warmed so many.

Whatever I come up with to express gratitude for her sounds so inadequate. The right words seem caught on the jagged edges of this crater left in my heart by her passing.

Unlike Kathy, I find myself woefully unprepared for her death.

This surprising onslaught of grief seems equally weighted against the laughter, joy and beauty she brought into my life for which I will be forever grateful.

Categories: Cancer, Death, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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