Tag Archives: death

Laughter Through Tears

There is a line from the movie Steel Magnolias every woman my age knows.  It’s at Shelby’s grave when Sally Field, the strong maternal character of the movie, finally breaks down with her girlfriends after losing her daughter (Julia Roberts).  One of the women friends breaks up the melt down by encouraging her to hit Weezer, the raunchy, sarcastic woman in the group, to make herself feel better.  After a few tense moments, they all start laughing.  Dolly Parton’s character then says, in the sweetness that can only come from Dolly’s voice, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

My friend Tasha knew the day she would die.  I’ll elaborate of course, but that sentence standing alone is hellacious.  She woke up in the hospital one morning after battling cancer for months while her family was in the midst of trying to coordinate hospice, to learn they wouldn’t be getting that far.  That morning, her doctor said to her – today is it, you will die today.  We all knew it was coming, but not like that.  Who has ever heard of a doctor announcing, while you were awake and cognizant, that this would be your final day?  To a young woman.  Imagine that.  This is your last day, we’ll pump you up with as many drugs as we can, but this is it.  You simply have too much fluid in your lungs to make it more than 24 hours.

Her hospital room was already full of flowers, balloons, photographs and countless kids’ drawings.  She was a beloved young mother, teacher, daughter, wife, cousin, niece and friend.  And when I say friend, I mean friend as in she was the kind of friend every woman cherishes.  Funny, quick-witted, snarky and would rip the shirt off her back for you and stand there naked if she needed to to help you.  She was like one of the women in that band of friends from Steel Magnolias as I think about it now – she was a small piece of all of them.  And I had the honor of being in that band with her.

The level of conversations a young woman has with her best friend in the months she’s battling what everyone knows (even if they won’t acknowledge) is terminal cancer are profound, but to then concise that down to a day, to hours…. well, there’s no pretense of propriety left, no words that can be held back, no reason to soften the blow or dance around where we are.  This is it.  All of life, death and everything in between punched into hours.  Those moments, those conversations, those pieces of insights or tiny intervals where life rips out your soul become who we are.  And when one of the people in the world you’ve loved the most asks people to leave the room, grabs your hand, and says “I don’t want this to happen….” the foundation of everything around you is rocked.

I’m an estates and trusts attorney and have attended actual, literal legal education seminars on what they call “dying with dignity.”  I get such a kick out of that phrase.  We toss phrases around like that, write it in legal brochures, without thinking, goddamn, do you know what that means?  Do you know what it means to be told – you will die today and because of that, all of your family members and friends are going to stand around you in a tacky poorly lit hospital room while machines beep and they will awkwardly stare at you while you lay in one of those god-awful gowns, struggle to breath, wondering what to say.  Do you know what it means to want to share some fanciful, picture-perfect, meaningful, beautiful, profound moment with your pre-school aged daughter on this, your last day, but frankly she’d rather be in the other room coloring and playing with her cousins and friends than be surrounded by the weirdness that is a tense hospital room with your mom gasping a bit, teary, drugged up and formidably hiding any signs of what could only be described by any human as terror of the unknown while everyone looks at you all day long (as they have been for months….) with deeply, unabashed, sad longing eyes?  Dying with dignity.  Most people are fortunate to have no idea what that actually means.

It was transcendental.  My conversations with her that day were transcendental.  The room itself was transcendental.  Watching her mother selflessly take on the day like a warrior was transcendental.  Transcendental is defined by a google search as:  relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm.  And the look in her eyes that day was raw transcendentalism.  She had the most incredible eyes anyway, and I won’t belie that the morphine was a factor too, but they were clear blue to the core.  You could see her soul at moments in those huge, blue, slightly teary eyes.  We all plan days that we know are days that will shape our lives, change our futures, that we will remember forever….. but none like that day.  And there is no plan for that.

So many of those I care about will carry that day forever.  And I hope with all that I am that someday, there is a day, that I am having a glass of wine (several) with her daughter, who is my goddaughter, and perhaps Tasha’s mother and incredible sister with us too, and I can let it all out.  Into those same blue eyes staring at me from another young woman who I love beyond all measure.  But for me until then, I will live knowing that I saw the closest thing to God I’ll ever see, right as this angel was heading to meet him, on that transcendental day.  The look in her eyes.  The powerful resonance of our fleeting, quick conversations and comments on faith in those hours.  All that is good, pure, holy, gracious and real was present that day, that worst of all days.  In that awful room.

And you already know reading this what happened there, in that room, between two friends on that final day.  It was laughter through tears.  I have no idea how many times Tasha and I watched Steel Magnolias together – surely ten times, but if I add late nights, laying around on couches, flipping through channels that we’d catch clips or just scenes, ten is not even close.  I loved the Sally Field character because her strength reminded me of my mother.  For Tasha it was always Weezer (of course it was).  I could hear Dolly Parton’s sweet voice running through my head in that hospital room, almost singing – “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  That transcendental day was the best and worst of all emotions and while I’d never wish it on anyone, maybe in some ways it was the closest I’ve ever felt to anyone.  While laughing through the most harrowing kind of tears.

~M.

For Those Who Have Passed On

Grateful for those who have passed on…..

I work from home so only go out to do errands and food shopping these days. 

I am on the phone much of the time talking to people here in Vermont and around the United States. Unfortunately the common denominator that keeps surfacing is that we all know someone who has past on this past year. 

Even though many of them are not Covid related, it does seem to be a time of transition. Hopefully, you have not had a family member or someone close to you pass away this past year.

 

I’ve mentioned here before that my wife of 25 years past away  at the end of August. She was an avid writer and had written over 40 books of affirmations and intentions for every imaginable situation.

I am including one here that she wrote that is appropriate for anyone who has lost someone close to them. It is a simple blessing and provides a sweet remembrance especially for these current times. My hope is that it creates peace and solace for you.

For Those Who Have Gone Before… by Toni Stone

you are loved and thought well of…
we have plenty of high intention for you.

you are remembered in gratitude
for all the good you have sourced. we are thankful.
you are enfolded in light and wisdom.
you are embraced, appreciated, still included here.

WISDOM cuts through delusions.
miseries and regrets are quickly dispelled.
light dispels darkness.

peace, satisfaction, and happiness are yours now.
spiritual insights are always happening.

true light strengthens all your thoughts.
you are a vibrant expression of DIVINE qualities…
open to unexpected blessings.

transformative realizations, purify negative memories.

new ideas illuminate understanding.
you are an exact imprint. of wisdom and renewal.

we are grateful and thankful to have known you.

the light of your goodness guides you.

you know the eternal LIGHT is with you.

you are blessed with wonderful love now.

you have ever present help.
only good is unfolding.

~Steve

A Death of a Guinea Pig

There is nothing like the death of the family rodent to teach a kid about life & death. In our case, our guinea pig, Odie, stepped up and took it for the team this past weekend. He was only 2 years old, so we’re all a bit shocked…

My oldest daughter, who is 9, took the news quite well. She even discovered him, and calmly asked me to confirm his status. I was sure that I could just quietly remove the remains and the cage and all that a guinea pig implied without my 3 y.o. son even noticing, but after last week’s escapade of moving the water cooler to another room, and his epic meltdown because of it, I shouldve known better. Unbenounced to us, though, my son was lurking just out of view while we did a pulse check, poke check, and the rattle-the-cage-wicked-loud check. And when I pronounced him officially dead, he made his entrance with as much drama as an episode of All My Children. I was completely caught off guard, and the right words to console this child had left me high and dry.

So…after little time to come up with a plan, I sent Cara off to find a shoebox. I gave clear instructions to decorate it any way she wanted to, and that we would use it to put Odie in it and give him a proper funeral in the morning. There were stickers and markers everywhere—suddenly the guinea pig had become a family hero, and the box became its shrine. All around the NIKE Swoosh there were stickers of red roses, and written above it in magic marker read the words “R.I.P Odie Our beloved Guinea Pig”.

BELOVED Guinea Pig? He wasnt very BELOVED when it was time to clean his cage. He wasnt very BELOVED when he took a chunk out of the neighbor’s finger. He wasnt even BELOVED when he was squealing so loud even the dogs left the room….

At any rate, I helped them write it. And they werent crying anymore, so hey…if it works, its true. Whatever.

On Sunday, My husband took the little thing out to the woods and buried it, further confusing the youngest child. It was my fault really….I was the one who announced his intent and both kids were just curious enough to insist on going with him. I didnt know they’d do that…sorry, Hunny.

But for days now, the story of this traumatic event as told by my 3 year old son has taken on a life of its own. It began when my 3 year old niece arrived at our house for a visit on Monday morning.

I heard her enter the house with her mother, and I heard the boy begin to spill the gory details of the previous days. I raced towards the room in an attempt to spare her the details, but before I could, there it was. All of it within 30 seconds…
Odie died.
He’s in a box.
With a paper towel bed.
We buried him.
Angels will pick him up…

And when I rounded the corner, there stood my innocent little niece clutching the last of her bagel. I braced myself, and waited for her response. And there it was…
“Ok. Want a bite of my bagel?”
And with that, they were off sharing a bagel and picking through the toy bin.

The questions are still coming.

“When will he not be old?’
“When are the angels gonna drop him back off?”
“Where is heaven?”
“Is he still stiff?”

But with each one, I know his curious mind is learning something new. He merely trying to grasp something no one has yet to understand.

With that, RIP Odie…Our BELOVED guinea Pig.

Toodles.

~Lynn

All I Got For You Is A Song

All I got for you is a song…

A few days ago the incredible woman who brought us all here,Noelle, shared a blog about her friend losing a parent.

There was some sad irony in that.

As in a few days I will be going to one of my dearest friends Mother’s funeral.

I am of age where my friends are loosing parents but it is thankfully not something I have experienced.

You always hurt for your people when they hurt and experience loss. However, this loss is hitting me.

When I found out, as I am now I had no words. What can I possibly say?

What do you say to one of your closest friends when they lose their parent? A friend who even when you are at your lowest and most unlovable has loved you. Even when their heart was breaking and they were watching their Mom go, took a few minutes to make sure you were ok.

What do you say about a woman who when you ….

I will just  tell you.

A few years ago I was hosting a music showcase. That same day I broke up with my boyfriend who I started dating after my divorce. The breakup I did not take well. I let old bad habits back in.

Really bad habits.

I think I might have fallen on stage.

Definitely cried during some sad songs.

It was so bad they called one of my Chewbacca’s and strongly suggested he come.

I could feel the shame, but the sadness was stronger.

I came off the stage after an introduction knowing how bad it was, wishing I was home, wanting my Mom and there was my friend’s Mom.

Who gave me a hug and told me all the things I needed to hear at that moment.

I had only met her a few times, but that moment will forever be with me. Like her daughter she loved me when I felt my most unlovable. It is a trait she has definitely passed on to my best friend. That strong, fierce, unconditional love. I really hope you have friends like that.

So here I am struggling to help my friend find the comfort that may not come.

The peace that may ebb and flow.

The words I don’t have.

Instead I did the only thing that makes sense to me. She loves Van Halen. I host a radio show. On Wednesday’s I suggest songs you should listen to.  I suggested Van Halen. I taped my radio shows and made sure to play Van Halen.

And today on Eddie Van Halen’s birthday I made sure to post some more. I, of course have called and sent texts. But as the saying goes where words fail, music speaks.

My hope is that my friend knows that where I’m failing in words I’m sending so much love.

Mommas this would be the part where I give you a  sage pep talk. Sometimes I struggle, this week it’s easy. You are important. There is going to be a moment that you might not even realize, that will mean the world to someone.

<3 Caprise

Navigating Loss

Navigating Loss…

This is a special blog post from me, when I am upset I write…

A few days ago one of my lifetime best friend’s lost his Mother…she was a Light, a force of nature, an amazing human being, a treasure and everything to her incredible family.  My heart is broken for them and I have been thinking about him and his family non-stop since I heard the news.  I know what it is like to lose your anchor humans— what it is like to have to get through the wake and the services, what it takes to keep going through the motions when you can’t even comprehend the impact of the loss.  When I talk to people about the death of a loved one, I tell them the truth…”there is nothing I can say that will make this better, nothing that I can do that will make it shatter you less…what I can promise you is that every day it gets just a little, tiny bit easier to tolerate…”

That IS the truth, when you lose your foundational humans you don’t ‘get over’ that…it is never, ever the same…it is different and in time you will recover to the point that it stings less…yet a day won’t go by that you don’t miss them and want to tell them things…you learn to navigate their departure and you teach others what they taught you and you carry on their legacy and you talk about them and keep them very much alive to your friends, children and family…they are ALWAYS a part of you, no matter where they are.

However, in those first weeks and months it is almost intolerable what you must walk through and it is knowing this that keeps me praying non-stop for my bff and his family…I am praying peace and strength and love for them…

I texted him a note today to remember to FEEL his feelings moment by moment, the most horrible thing about grief is that if you stuff it down it will come back and eat you alive at the worst possible times…you have to feel your way through the catastrophic losses…feel it and keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking…you WILL get out the other side.

In addition to feeling all the ‘feels’, remember to celebrate the life of the person that has gone on…they would want you to do that…A’s mom would want her clan to celebrate the hell out of her, she was a vibrant woman and she left a legacy of children and grandchildren that is just incredible—- the whole clan is gorgeous, smart, witty and goes out of their way to help people and do what is right…Shelia got the job done in spades…these are some of the BEST people that I know.

I cannot shield them from these moments or what they must face walking through the next few days, however I can pay tribute to them here and use it to help all of you understand that this isn’t something that you ‘get over’—-this is something that you learn to navigate with time.

You are all stronger than you think and you do have what you need to get through your most difficult circumstances…I promise you…you do.

Be gentle with yourselves during times of great loss, have Grace for what you are walking through…losing foundational people is one of the worst fire seasons…

For A and his family know that I am covering you up in love and prayers and that my heart is with you all…

XO, Noelle

What I’m Fighting For

What I’m Fighting For…

I’ve heard the worst of the worst in my 40 years of life.

“We found a mass. Quite honestly, I’m concerned.”
“It is malignant.  You have a 10 cm tumor.  There are also 2 spots in your left lung.”
“It’s stage 4.  Our best guess is you have a 10-15% chance of living the next 5 years.”
I’ve now been battling stage 4 colon cancer for 3 years. I’ve had 27 radiation treatments, 22 chemo treatments, more surgeries in the last 3 years than most have in a lifetime. I’ve somehow had such bad Sepsis that I was within hours of death.
Twice.
There is a looming fear that I have about 2 years left. That my 8 and 5 year old children won’t have their mom by their side as they start middle school and grade school. I try not to worry about that. I try to make every day the best I can for them. I want them to remember when I taught them to ride a two wheeler. And that I practiced their spelling words with them every single morning. I want them to think of fun zoo trips and every single Muffins With Mom event at school.  I pray they will remember what I went through for them. But not so much that they remember how sick the chemo made me. I want them to know that as sick as I was, it helped me be with them even one more day.
I’m fighting.  I’m fighting every single day.  I never want my kids to think I gave up on them. On life. As hard as it is, my will to live is for them. As I gear up for another round of 12 treatments, I worry about telling them. But I hope they’re proud. I hope they see what courage and strength there is in fighting Cancer.  I hope they remember that strength and courage when I’m at my weakest. And I hope they remember the light on the other side. When I can tell them, “The chemo worked.  The cancer is gone. No more chemo for a while.”
Because while the bad has been very bad, the good has been SO much better. We appreciate everything more. They don’t know my time is limited. They just know that I do what I do in order to be able to do the fun stuff later.
And while the Cancer fight is hell, it’s sure as hell worth it in order to take one more trip to the zoo next year.
-Kate

In Case I Never See You Again…

In Case I Never See You Again…

How many of us conduct our relationships based on the phrase above?  I would guess very few.  We think there is plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to fix whatever isn’t working… in a relationship, in a job, with a parent, in a living situation…and so we say things to ourselves like “I will make concessions and settle for less than excellence today because I can do something about it tomorrow”, “I will stay here with him or her today because it is comfortable and easier and less confrontational and later I will experience real intimacy and real joy”, “I will hold onto my animosity and anger for you today because later on I will tell you how I really feel and we will make things right”, “I will withhold my heart from you today because you might hurt me and so I will not share my deepest love with you right now because I will do it later on when it seems safer”…and on and on and on……

Imagine with me for a moment that there was only today…what would not be acceptable to you then?  If there was only today would you waste one, single second withholding yourself, putting things off, accepting unacceptable behavior or putting up with no results???    Would you???

 Or would you throw caution to the wind and change some things…would you forgive people, would you repair relationships, would you get rid of things that didn’t work, would you take chances, would you STOP caring what other people think, would you love like your life depended on it???

Do you know that death is unbearable only when you have unfinished business with the people that died…do you understand that living also becomes unbearable when there is loads of unfinished business and a plethora of words unspoken?

In case I never see you again, what must I say to you right now in this moment to be complete?   What a different life we would have if we were complete in every moment…how that would change us…

Most of us are saving stuff for the right moment…the right moment is now…the world is an interesting place these days….funky people are doing crazy things and that requires some of us to remind others of us to stop waiting for the “right” moment—live your life RIGHT NOW…stop putting up with people and things that don’t work, stop withholding yourself from other people, stop killing your vitality and joy with undelivered communications and unexpressed anger…you think that nobody notices because you are being “nice” instead of being REAL…authenticity is what gives life and sometimes being authentic is very unattractive, however it is real and it is true and it is life altering…

Do you remember the Velveteen Rabbit…only when he was a mess and all his fur was gone and his stuffing was coming out, only then did he become “REAL”…

Real life and real love are messy folks…you have to roll up your sleeves and delve in…authentic is getting all the way in and being real all the way through…sometimes it feels great and sometimes not so great, but all the way along you feel alive…you have to get in there and mix it up—stop looking in from the sidelines waiting for the right moment to live.

It’s like the difference between mixing meatballs with a spoon because you don’t want to get “ all messy” and mixing meatballs with your hands…sleeves rolled up, rings off and you just dig into the bowl and mix it and then you shape the meatballs with your hands…

Careful, brittle people mix things with spoons, they shape meatballs with spoons…they don’t want to get dirty or sticky or messy and those people’s meatballs have dry spots and they don’t taste good because they carry the flavor of a person with an inability to fully experience life…NEWS FLASH : real life is messy, it’s fun, it’s heartbreaking, you can get dirty and broken and you can also experience true, profound JOY…

Live your life folks, mix things with your hands, get in there and roll up your sleeves…another holiday is coming, another year…will you be joyful this Christmas?  Will you be complete in every moment with the people that you love and even those you don’t?  Will you ask yourself what would I say now to this person in case I never see them again?

You would be such a gift this holiday season if you lived like that…instead of being stressed and pissed and harried, what if you were gracious and grateful and complete?  What a gift you would be to yourself…undelivered communications are what make us sick and tired and unparticipatory…

YOU be the GIFT this Christmas Season and love people like your life depended on it because it does…

I love you guys…go out there and LIVE OUT LOUD.

-Noelle

 

Living Through 9/11 This Year

9/11…Today is the day my mother died. I am the daughter of a single mother and a single mother myself. My mother died going to work early on the 99th floor of 1 WTC to learn PowerPoint… a skill I refuse to master.  Call it petty, but it’s deeply ingrained in my psyche. Walk in my Louboutins and then talk if you feel the need.

The hardest part of today was deciding not to take my 12 year old son to the memorial services in NYC. I realized,after much wine, that I wasn’t ready to put another human through that pain. I put on a good game face most years, and hope to put one on again today, yet with our politically charged environment, may not be fully possible.

I lost everything when I lost my mom. When I say everything, I lost all facets of family I thought I had. “Aunts and uncles”, “family friends” etc who thought I wasn’t grieving properly or who I didn’t contact because I didn’t know how to say I needed someone, or didn’t want to be alone for whatever the next holiday. I live my life with my son wanting to give him something better and failing as compared to my mom, but realizing that at least I am giving him a truth. A truth that was lost to me. I needed to be loved, even if I buried my pain in donations and dollars and the future, those were easy things to distract me from the pain. Today I mourn the loss of a friend back to a country that has become her home more than the US, and that I was too selfish to take my advantages to spend time with her when I could.

This is not my best post but it is my story of what it means to be a survivor 17 years later and may well evolve over the next few days.

~Electra

My Brave Face

I’m going to be honest. I have started and restarted this blog about a million times. Ok maybe not that many. But enough. This is hard thing to put words to, but I’ll try.

In the last few weeks we lost Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to suicide. As supportive as people have been… it’s always followed up with why?
Why would someone who seemingly had it all take their own life?
If we could that answer we wouldn’t have to ask the question would we?
What I know is I have had two people who I was incredibly close to take their own lives.
Whenever this comes up in the news my brain buzzes. Not just for me but my family who have been trying to gently shut the door on something no one should ever have a door to anyway.

A few years ago a close family member took their own life, even worse it played out a bit on social media. But that is not my story to tell. So that’s all I will say.

However, this is my story…the very first man to ever break my heart took his own life. I carry so much guilt over it. It’s been years and I still carry the weight of what I could of, if anything done differently.He had months previous reached out to me as he had for years around Christmas. He missed me, he loved me, I was his biggest regret. As I always did, I curtly thanked him and said I did not feel the same.

Two months later he was dead. I read it about it on Facebook. Sometimes I really f*&$ing hate Facebook.

When news breaks about a celebrity taking their own life I start to feel sad, mad, wonder could I have done differently?

My answer is nothing. Depression & anxiety have a horrible ability of finding a hairline fracture and turning it into a full on break. The reality is not everyone wears their worries on their sleeve but it doesn’t mean they’re hurting any less.

It’s easy to question why. What I try to remember is what may seem like a grain of sand to me can feel like a whole beach to someone else.

There is a fantastic quote “misery is easy, happiness you have to work at.”
For some people that’s beyond true. Happiness is a lot of work.

I know that first hand. I am the Queen of coulda, woulda, shoulda. It keeps me awake at night. It gives me migraines. Thankfully I’ve learned – thanks to some pretty fantastic therapists- what I need to do when Ms. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda are paying a visit.

It hasn’t always been that way and there are still days I give the ladies an audience. I had a huge wake up call from a friend, who by the way is no longer a friend. When I experienced my first deep downward spiral. She called me at work and told me she couldn’t be friends with me anymore because I was too depressing. Mind you I had just gotten dumped by a man who cheated on me with a co-worker. My heart was breaking in a million pieces, so yes I was probably a downer. I was SAD.

I got pissed. I was a Happy person. Even happy people can hurt. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be heartbroken and if someone tells you otherwise. F them!  Seriously.

Also, please for all that is holy don’t be this person- “just get over it.” Wow just get over it. My marriage is ending, this was not my plan. I’m up to my eyeballs in debt, I’m now on my own with a 2 1/2 year old. But you betcha I’ll get right over it.

Why is it as a society we assign shame to sadness? Maybe that is the answer to that unfortunate question.

The same people who say reach out, say ask for help- can just as easily forget that is a really hard thing to do when you’re hurting. It’s easier to burrow, run, shut down. It’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to be made to feel like you need to. It’s hard to be on 24/7. It’s hard to be happy all the time. You can be with a million people and still feel hurt and lonely.

Here is the thing you don’t. Really you don’t. I can say that to you, to myself and maybe it will stick. Maybe it won’t and that’s ok too.

So for now I will do what I always do. I will get on a back country road go very fast, blare Rage Against the Machine maybe get pulled over. Instead of a ticket get the world’s most awkward hug from the poor state trooper who pulled me over as I was crying telling him I’m just having a really bad day. I will put on my favorite T-shirt. I will goof around and try to copy a You Tube makeup tutorial. I might spend some money on Amazon I don’t have. I will eat a doughnut, pour myself a glass of wine. Hug my daughter, let my dog on my bed.

I will put on my brave face. I will work hard at being happy.

But what I think we all need to remember, myself included is happiness IS hard work, for some people it’s harder than others.

~Caprise~

Angels In Disguise Living Among Us

“I’ve seen & met Angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people, living ordinary lives.”

-Tracy Chapman

We all have those people in our lives that are our Angels-grandmas, grandpas, parents, siblings, friends, children-and not to sell them or their roll short but there is also at least one person everyone can think of that is just so spectacular in everything giving and helpful. Someone whom maybe you talk very little to or not at all. Someone who you wonder can be so kind and forgiving and with no judgement in reguards of what anyone or what they themselves have been through. Take a moment and think about who that person(s) may be to you? Maybe that person is yourself?

I use to sell my children’s outgrown clothing and toys on eBay many years ago when I still had the time to be able to list, pack and mail. I made fairly decent money at it and met a pretty amazing woman while doing so. She was opening a small shop in her area for the less fortunate and was buying items to stock her store with. Good quality, gently used items for children. Infants on up. She did this for little to no profit and we became friends as I always had a lot of what she needed. We would work out “deals” on the items I had and so she could still keep her store up and running. She was super excited when she was able to move her shop into a little larger more affordable location that her husband had remodeled for her….and then I heard nothing more! I would email her through eBay, I would email her through personal email. Eventually she responded and told me that her husband, who was in his early 50’s, had a massive heart attack and it killed him instantly. That was it-no good-bye or I love you’s-just gone. He was her and her daughter’s primary bread winner and had to close up shop and go back to work. We kept a relationship going through Facebook, nothing too much, likes on posts, Happy Birthdays, how are you’s? I could tell you what was currently going on in her life by her Facebook posts and her in mine but nothing personal beyond what was shared on social media. She struggled with the loss of her husband as anyone would. But she kept going and I watched her youngest daughter grow to be a young woman with a social media page of her own, which we also became “friends” as did her and my daughter as they were basically the same age.  One day she shared on Facebook that she had her daughter, who had not been feeling well, at the hospital…a few days later her 15 year old daughter(yes, 15) was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was one of the hardest things as a mother of a teen daughter has ever witnessed. I cannot begin to imagine the pain she was in and still is. Her daughter lived approximately 3 months from diagnosis-they had a private page for friends and family to keep updated and to journal their experience.

This woman is one of many Angels…she has been through so much, that often I draw strength from her strength. Watching what she has gone through and continues to go through. She started a foundation almost immediately and has pushed through some political BS and some difficult situations because she wants NO ONE to have to experience what her family has. She has brought awareness in places and with people who had no idea that ovarian cancer can also affect young girls. She has a buddy program where she send packages to sick children and she is constantly meeting with other parents of sick children or sick themselves. She has spent many days and nights sitting with those who are dying and holding their hands  She is an Angel living an ordinary life, who has had tremendous losses, while doing extraordinary things, wearing ordinary clothes.

<3

Love to All-Kim