It’s been 22 days since you left us

We went through so much in the years we spent together, yet it didn’t feel like enough. I got to hear her…laughing, singing, living, breathing, crying, struggling and… dying. You all might imagine – and some of you know – that this was not an easy path…But, G walked, hobbled, and, at times, crawled hers. She labored through her illness with fortitude and strength…well loved. Beautiful and breathtaking. That is how I saw her. And how I wish she would have seen herself on many days.

And I wish I could talk to her now. And tell her that again. That even though life wasn’t fair for her so much of the time, she was loved. That she did not fail as a child. And she did not fail as a partner. She did not fail as a patient. G never let go of her connection to her former therapist. And she asked for her before she died. Not her mother, but the woman she felt closest to for so many years. Possibly to bring her some sense of comfort. Or possibly just to say a final goodbye. But her answer in those final days, was also “life wasn’t fair” as she received no reply from the woman who G possibly loved and trusted the most in a “therapisty/motherly” way. And although in life I would have said no, leave it alone, in those final days, I just wished for her to find peace and comfort in any way possible.

My grief remains a huge part of me. I continue to work to make friends with it – since it is here and not leaving – but it hurts. I can allow moments of distraction by keeping busy and staying focused. Other times, I can’t think of anything except my best friend and how much I miss her. I still torment myself at times with thoughts that maybe there was another treatment, or trial, we could have tried. Or we should have spent more time together, traveled more, done more, spoke more. I try to comfort myself knowing that she had grace for me, forgave me my mistakes and loved me anyway… but I hate those things were there to begin with. Guilt is yet another painful companion to grief.

This journey sucks. It remains raw. I plan to hide in my home tomorrow – look at pictures and read her words and remind myself that she was real. The joy was real.

breathe and keep going

G was very clear with me that no matter what happened to her, she wanted me to be there for her daughter. To be clear, her daughter and I have always been very close. She’s always been like a daughter to me so this discussion wasn’t even really a request on her part, in fact, I would have been offended had she not asked this of me. A is a wise, articulate, funny and smart young woman. She is caring, silly, cutting and compassionate…she is a force to be reckoned with and her debating skills are being honed as only a teenagers can be. And I am so proud of her.

As we cried together over the weekend I told her I was sad, and I couldn’t say it was okay, because it isn’t okay. We hugged and cried together and I am hopeful that she will at some point agree to grief counseling, but at this time she is not willing to go. As when her mama relapsed with cancer, she went to therapy twice then decided she did not want to talk to a “stranger” about her “problems”. As long as she continues to talk to me, I won’t push her.

She is a beautiful and kind young woman. Like the gene pool was kind to her with her curly ginger locks and her kind blue eyes. But her real beauty is in her strength and wisdom and intelligence, her compassion and passion, her endurance and resilience. She is so intelligent and wishes to be a pediatric oncologist. Of course this may change as she is only 15 years old. But at this point it is her focus and with focus, she can do anything. Channeling her pain into something positive is a good thing.

We had a good weekend together, and I’m happy I will be seeing her again Monday for a week. I want to honor G’s spirit by doing my very best.

I breathe and keep going. Even through loss.  I breathe and keep going,