What a week.
That's all I can think of to say. I'm sitting here looking at this blank page and blinking cursor and wondering what on earth I could possibly write to describe what is going on. I do not feel the flow of words that sometimes comes when I'm writing. I feel stilted and stalled and at a loss. Fitting.
So, this is going to get a little raw here. It's been just over a year since my friend TerriLyn found out that her breast cancer had returned to her bones. That kind of cancer doesn't go away, but some people can fight it for a long time. TL has done a great job fighting but has suffered blow after blow after blow this year. At Christmastime we found out her bone-strengthening drug wasn't working and she had to start chemotherapy again. Around her birthday in February we found out the cancer had spread to her liver. This summer she went away to spend three weeks with her family in Seattle, and when she came home I knew there was more trouble. She looked different and I could tell that she felt awful. A few days later we found out that it was because her liver was failing. Incredible to realize that it was less than one month ago that this devastating news was delivered.
In those few short weeks, TL has gone from sick but still vibrant and sparkly to just barely hanging on to life. I visited her today in the hospital, where she was sitting with her family, barely able to keep her eyes open and appearing so different that it took my breath away.
How grateful I was for my Monday morning.
Nine days ago, the Monday she got admitted to the hospital I was sitting at home. I suddenly felt inspired to go see TL. She was at home and not feeling well at all, dealing with mouth sores and other side-effects of chemo. I went inside, where she was stubbornly insisting on dressing herself after a shower and making her own tea which she could barely sip. Finally she sat down and all I could do to help her was sit with her. I rubbed her legs and hands with lotion. I chatted quietly about all the latest neighborhood news. I rubbed her back and stroked her head. I was just with her. I think it will probably be the most interaction I ever have with her again on this earth. It was hard to see her in pain but it was an absolute treasure for me to have that time with her.
Since that morning I have seen her at the hospital three times, each time seeming a little harder than the last, and certainly without the same intimacy of that last morning. But we hold hands, and the first night I went we cried together. As the week has gone on I'm not always sure she knows I'm there or who I am. The week has been filled with helping with her kids, helping with food, talking to family, briefly stopping by the hospital, talking talking talking with friends, neighbors, Troy. Crying. Remembering. Praying. I'm so grateful to be a part of my dear friend's journey - as with birth, a person only gets to die once, and I feel that it's as sacred as the arrival of a baby. This experience, though so hard, is not one I'd trade for anything.
Sweet friend, you are safe. You are loved, so much. I will miss you for the rest of my life. I don't think a day will go by that I don't think of you, wish to talk to you. I love you.