i could write you a story about how amazing my life has been recently, how high the highs have felt, the adventures and new friends. but i can’t right now.
erin died today. her obituary says it all, and i have no doubt she had a hand in writing it. she is a beloved friend, a wiser older sister to many, intellectual, BAYS president, writer and editor of the BAYS Anthology, mother of 2 young boys, and wife. she is graceful, radiant, fierce, and warm, with no lack of humor or capacity to give to others. and she is gone.
i feel like the world has been cheated, i’ve been cheated, from having her be a present force for good on this planet.
i feel anger. more anger than i felt when i was diagnosed. i hate cancer, hate hate hate it.
i feel denial. this simply cannot be happening. not erin, no, not erin.
i also feel guilty. why am i here and she’s not? why am i sitting on the same couch that we snuggled on a few months ago, laughing and comparing surgical scars, and she’s not?
and, i feel conflicted. i’ve known erin for about 2 years, but didn’t know her like her best, lifelong friends knew her.
so while it’s valid for me to feel what i feel, it doesn’t feel completely right to feel it.
oh, and there is the numbness too.
this summer both with the BAYS board and on our own, erin and i talked about getting a project off the ground for stage IV BAYS women with young children. it would be a chance to catalogue their stories, things they want to share with their children if the women die before their kids grow up. we didn’t get it off the ground yet. my heart breaks.
perhaps helping prepare us for her own transition, erin wrote a beautiful blog piece last year about dying. it may give you a further insight into erin and how she approached all aspects of life. and in an email exchange last month, she weighed in on BAYS programming around hospice and dying at home…all before she had an inkling of what september would hold.
one of erin’s friends has been collecting stories about erin. while i shared some, what i most wanted to say to erin’s children about her is this: erin, you make the world a better place. you make people be better version of themselves. you make your friends think that they can do anything. you share and give love freely. you cook amazingly and know your wine even better so as to make every meal with you memorable. you laugh beautifully, with sass and sarcasm and a big heart. and, your eyes sparkle.
earlier today, my friend jen pointed me to this quote by blogger glennon at momastery: “Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated.” this is where i’m at.
erin, and all the BAYS women who have gone before her, did not lose their battle with cancer. they went through difficult treatments, ate right, prayed and meditated hard. saying that she lost her battle implies that she didn’t fight hard enough.
the more accurate description is that erin lived and loved fully. she did not lose. and as her obituary and dear friends have said: may her memory be a blessing.
goodbye for now, my red-headed astral twin.