I have a friend that I enjoy following on social media because she makes me laugh, she's doing the shit that she thinks is cool and having a great time - floating in a river drinking a beer and canoodling her husband - girls trips to Palm Springs - vacationing with her 90-something grandmother who likes to sip tequila and wear party hats - catching her teenage boys doing the silly things teenage boys do - building things in the garage - always surrounded by people who love her and her beautiful family. I have a fond affection for her. We rarely get together but I know it will be great when we do, I'm looking forward to it. Her nickname is "Julie the Cruise Director" like from "Love Boat". She's crazy, sexy and cool in all the right ways, with a wicked sense of humor.
Today she slipped away. Gone, just like that.
When I opened up Facebook this morning, there it was - the note from another friend that said "Rest in peace Jill", and suddenly I couldn't breathe.
I re-read her blog this morning over and over, bawling my way through it, pausing to get the tissues. At 48 she began writing about her 2-year journey through colon cancer complete with diagrams and photographs, giving full personalities to her doctors, nurses and technicians from diagnosis through treatment and while the story is long, ugly and painful, she had great care and she kept me laughing and hopeful all the way through.
I remember a couple of years ago when I heard from a mutual friend that she was having some health issues and that she was wanting to keep it very private, she didn't want everyone to know. I immediately felt a sense of "no, not her, please not her". I reached out anyway to let her know I was thinking about her and wishing her the best. She thanked me and said she felt comforted knowing that so many people cared and said that she was "putting one foot in front of the other and smiling". She had come to terms with it. I haven't.
I have to remind myself to breathe...the sadness is immeasurable.