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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To my Peanuthead

Start over no matter where you stop. Never quit quitting. If I can do it so can you. Start somewhere. Keep going. Have you tried this? Have you gone there? Read this? Taken that? Prayed? Praying doesn't work because no God would allow this to happen. You are so strong. Keep going. You can do this. ***Silence....Retreat....Withdrawl....Silence*** You may be reading this and interpreting this in many ways. I'll say this: acceptance is beyond difficult. It's challenging for the recipient of the challenge and for the loved ones.

 I had a very close friend who died of breast cancer years ago. She was in her 30s. I remember many, many flights to Cincinnati from Grand Rapids. Driving every other weekend as often as possible. I was in grad school getting my masters and she was getting her PhD when she had gotten diagnosed. People thought we were sisters. I miss her. She was hilarious. We had inside jokes and she could make me laugh in a way no one else could. She understood me and any kind of emotional suffering without me having to say a word. She was kind, compassionate, generous, giving, beautiful, loved music, and fashion. On a day like today, I would love to have her over so she could slurp coffee (like she would) out of her saucer because she overfilled her antique, thrift store find, coffee cup. Sip, and always, ALWAYS, spill on her shirt. Then she would ask to borrow another one, "Of course, honey." We'd finally get down to business and talk about what was going on. My anger, irritability, the need to throw breakable things into a wall.  Or her our latest crushes which was the cause of my irritability.  We'd laugh so much over it all. We knew how how temporary it was because we knew who we really loved and neither one of us were with them.

We were 21-22 years old. The world was ahead of us. There was no cancer. No neurosurgeries for either one of us: "Peanut I don't want you to see my crainiotomy scar from my metastasis. It will only make you sad." I've had 2 crainiotomies and I've often wondered the sadness she would feel knowing that. I know she would know we were bonded in a way others weren't. She was my hero.

 I love this quote:

When she died I was relieved for her. She had wanted to die for a long time. We had discussed her death for the last year of her life and especially that last month. She was really concerned about her other friends and how they might respond to her leaving this stage of existing. She knew I was truly in a place where I had accepted her death as part of her life.  Of course it was cruel, unjust, sorrowful and grief filled. I felt blessed that we had the relationship we did that we could be truly bare bones, no bullshit honest with each other so that whatever she faced (tests, chemo, radiation, surgery, pills, on and on... Her funeral plans)... We faced it together.

I did not attend her funeral which may have some of you wondering. She made me promise her I wouldn't attend. I went to visit her 2 weeks prior to her death with 3 other of her closest friends and we had a great time.  The promise we made happened prior to this visit and we had discussed it often. The reasons don't matter. I put together a very small celebration of her life with a few people who loved her complete with photos, letters, pictures and Jameson. A proud Irish girl has to be toasted and sent off in the proper way.   I hope I've done her justice here and given all of you a piece of my mind's eye into my friendship with her. I will always love her so much.

My last 3 things about her: she loved gin and tonics, clubbing, photography, sleeping with the comforter wrapped around her head, over cooking chicken, spending too much money on me, Mexican food, travel,  and French movies that I made fun of later. I guess that's more than 3. Ha! Here are 2 pics. The B&W is one she would love. The other is well...

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