The night before last, I had trouble falling asleep. I was restless, I felt edgy and raw, and I just had this feeling that something bad was going to happen. I have written that same exact thing a few times before right here in my blog.... and each time I've been right.
Yesterday at work Hubby came into my office and showed me his hand: he had lost his wedding ring. He never takes it off. NEVER. The only time he did was two weeks ago when he had neck surgery. I kept it safe in my purse, and put it back on his finger myself when he was awake again. He can't remember when, where or why he took it off after that, and our efforts to find it have been unsuccessful. I attributed my bad feeling to that. It's very upsetting, for him and me.
I should have known. I don't get that feeling over something "upsetting".
This morning I received a text from my BFF. Her mom had passed away in the early morning hours.
Before my mom had cancer, before I had cancer, before my BFF had cancer, Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought through surgery and chemo and came out on the other side...a little older, a little more tired, a little scarred, but still the same old Barb. She was not the pity party type. She was matter of fact, and a fighter. If you didn't know she was sick, you would never know, because she never complained. I'm not positive, but I think Barb had reached the 5 year milestone which is the magic number in cancer survivorship.
I met my BFF in homeroom at the beginning of seventh grade. We were inseparable for years and years until she met her hubby, moved away and got married. We have a long history of roller rinks, double dates, New Year's Eve parties and vacations. My family was hers, and her family was mine. I probably spent more of my teenage years at her house than my own. I loved her mom like.... a mom. On my visits back home each summer, even when my BFF wasn't there at the same time, I would still stop by for a visit, or better yet, meet at Pizza Star for lunch. This was taken this past summer:
If you didn't laugh when you were around this couple, there is something wrong with you. They both would talk a mile a minute, often over the top of each other. Half the time I didn't know which conversation to pay attention to. You rarely saw one without the other, and it's only fitting that Barb passed away with her hubby by her side. I'm so sad for him. I can't even imagine how lost he must be. They're still young! How do you spend fifty years with someone and then have to live without them?
I'm sad for my friend T and her sister. To this group of people, family is everything. Barb was definitely the glue that held them all together. T told me when her mom was sent home with hospice that she wasn't ready to say goodbye to her. How could she be?
I'm heartbroken for Barb's grandchildren. My kids lost two grandmothers in 2010 and my heart still mourns the memories they will not get to make. I think about those four young people who loved Barb and it makes me cry.
A big part of why I'm so sad is because of how much everyone else who loved her has lost. I'm not the only one who experienced happiness and laughter because of Barb. Her husband, her family, her nieces and nephews, her friends..... everyone whose world was a little brighter because Barb was in it - they are all covered in darkness tonight. Sorrow.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
I know Barb is at peace. Her body is healed, her spirit is restored and she doesn't have to fight anymore. And that is a comfort. If you've ever watched someone die from cancer, you know, you witness just how weary they get of fighting. As trite as it sounds, I am comforted by the fact that I know she is in a better place. But...
Not only am I sad because someone who has been a part of my life for thirty years is no longer, I am mad. MAD. 😡 Why are people still dying of cancer? Why????
And not only am I mad, but I'm scared. I'm scared to death, because as selfish as it sounds, I'M NOT READY. I had breast cancer, just a few years after Barb did. So am I next? Barb may not have been the picture of health in recent months, but to my knowledge she didn't know that cancer was once again taking over her body. Sneaky bastard. It just happens, and after you've fought the beast once, the second time is often devastatingly final. I don't have survivor's guilt...... I have survivor's FEAR. As long as people keep beating this disease, it gives me hope that I can continue to beat it. But when there is a loss, especially a loss so close to my heart, it brings that fear right back to the surface.
Rest in peace, Barb. I hope you spend an eternity wandering the shores of the place you loved most. Thank you for the memories, and thank you for loving me and my family.