As I write this, I’m in an airport, waiting to board my flight back east. I bought my tickets yesterday, knowing this day would come but never wanting to believe it.
Some regular readers may have noticed comments from On Beyond Cancer. She regularly followed me and I followed her. But what you may not know is she wasn’t just an online friend, she was a friend I’ve know practically my whole life.
At 8 I met another precocious 8 year old girl on the playground during recess. We saw cleat tracks dried in the mud and as only intelligent girls with over active imaginations can do, we automatically realized aliens had invaded, were invisible, and it was up to us to prove their existence. That year tracking and documenting alien finds solidified a life long friendship that not even disagreements and 3,000 miles could overcome.
When she received her diagnosis, she never faltered in her strength, choosing to build her blog into not just a forum to keep loved ones informed, but a way to educate and inform an entire community. And she fought, fought with everything she had to have some more time here with her family, especially her beautiful little boys. She never complained and insisted on living her life to the fullest. In fact just a few short weeks ago, we went shopping for 5 hours, just being in the moment, enjoying time we had not had together in a long while.
But no one lives forever and her time was up much sooner than anyone ever dreamed. She passed away Wednesday, surrounded by family, with a smile for all to remember her by. And so now I sit, alone in the airport, headed to what I’m sure will be a difficult week of celebrating her life and mourning our own loss.
Her husband called her “the strongest person he’s ever known“. I couldn’t agree more. Now it’s time for all of us to follow her example: living in the present, living to the fullest, and loving with all our heart. For me, that’s to not only indulge in my love of travel and my family, but most importantly to live in the present, and spend my time enjoying life as opposed to stressing about the next flight, trip, visa application, work project, etc. Thank you dear friend for all you have inspired.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer, I highly encourage you to check out On Beyond Cancer, where Karissa has developed a collection of great articles on treatments, charities and stories on being a mom with cancer.
*Photos taken by Atma Photography