Wednesday, December 14, 2011

in other news

My children are still very beautiful.

(photos: Mary Anne Folckomer Register)

Monday, December 12, 2011

not imaginary

It's a running joke in my house, "Mama's talking to her imaginary friends." They're the people I've met online over the last few years, through blogging and various social networks. Of course they are very real people and when bad things happen to them, I do feel it keenly.

S., though, was someone I met in person - at the Conference for Younger Women Affected by Breast Cancer in early 2009 - and with whom I continued to connect online. We first connected because we both had metastatic breast cancer but soon realized that we had much more than the cancer in common - a progressive outlook, quirky gifted children and we both chose to expressive ourselves in creative ways. Unlike me, though, S. was a bona fide artist who used fabric as her medium.

S. was about my age. She had been diagnosed at Stage 0 but the cancer seemed to have quickly metastasized (was it just very aggressive or had something been missed? This was one of the things we discussed over dinner on the evening we met). We ended up spending all of our free time together, during that long week end in Atlanta - every coffee break, meal and evening. We even grabbed lunch together before grabbing our shuttle to the airport.

We stayed in touch after we got home, exchanging the occasional email and through the Care Pages that S. set up to share news with family and friends. She wrote to me about her latest art project (which integrated images of cancer cells), her daily life and a wonderful trip that her family took to Costa Rica. She also shared her frustration with the fact that no treatments seemed to slow the progression of her cancer.

Last week, I received a notice that S.'s Care Page had been updated. I logged in and found a message from her husband: saying S. had had moved from treatment to hospice care. Yesterday, he contacted us to say that this remarkable woman had passed away in her sleep.

I've run out of words to describe my sadness and the grief I feel on behalf of her family. Another child has lost her mother. It's all so wrong.

Over the week end, Zoom remarked that having cancer brings a lot of people into your life but takes a lot of them out, too. And, the truth is, I would do nothing differently, even knowing I would face loss and be forced to confront the possibility of my own death. The people who have come into my life - online and off- since my cancer diagnosis have improved my life immeasurably. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

But, right now, my heart is aching.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I'm sure she did not "go gently into that good night." 

Judy was a fighter, a woman whose Facebook page stated "I love my life." And that was life centered around her family and friends, especially her 10 year old son and her husband.

I first met Judy (and I do feel like I knew her, even though we never met in person) when 20 or so women were brought together by Susan to form the group blog, Mothers With Cancer. It was clear from the outset that Judy  would become a particular friend.

She had a passionate sense of social justice, a dark sense of humour and a straightforward manner that endeared her to me immediately. Like me, she loathed the pinkwashing that takes place every October. We even both had dogs who were considered part of the family.

Judy never stopped being angry about cancer. She railed against the unfairness of a world that afflicts so many of us with this evil disease.

At the same time, she never stopped appreciating the beauty in the world around her - in her environment, at work and in her family and friends. She never stopped finding things about which to laugh.

It's because of Judy that I applied for Little Pink Houses. I know that her family's week with the organization was a glorious experience (and so was mine). We often said how great it would be to meet up in person. Jeanine from Pink Houses did meet both of us and told me she is confident that we would have liked each other as much in person as we did online.

Judy, my friend, I miss you already. My heart goes out to everyone who loves you, especially Nate and Frank. Many, many, many people mourn your loss and celebrate your life.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Deanna: a tribute












Loving mother, daughter, sister, friend.

I struggle for the words to write you the tribute you deserve. You are loved, admired and missed by so many.

My heart goes out to your family. I will hold you in my heart forever and continue to be inspired by you every day.

Thursday, December 01, 2011