My Aunt Karen--who was also one of my closest friends died from ovarian cancer on December 13, 2010. She was 58 years old. My cousin Leanne(Lee)--who was more like a sister died suddenly of unknown causes on February 2, 2011. They were not related but we all teamed up like sisters. Lee was a 5 year survivor of breast cancer herself and only 40 years old.
During my Aunt's battle with cancer Lee was my rock. She went to visit with me, she helped me with my Aunt's last birthday party, she helped me through the weeks following her death. All three of us loved to drive around and visit or just sit looking at the stars discussing our lives. Aunt Karen was ready, she knew that she was going to heaven--she had a personal relationship with God. She was one of the most optimistic and amazing people I have ever met. Having received the news of her cancer almost a year and a half ago the prognosis was dismal as she was already at stage 4. This had no effect on her--she was CONVINCED that she was going to receive a miracle and be healed. Well, she did receive a miracle because she lived much longer than most women with a diagnosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer. She lived long enough to receive two beautiful miracles she called her granddaughters. She saw them as gifts from heaven and was able to watch them to grow for nearly a year before she past. In the last three months of her life she suffered with severe pain, paralysis of her lower extremities and a huge bedsore on her backside. She was miserable which was so awful to watch--Lee was my support system. She tried to keep me positive knowing that she was not suffering anymore and she went to be with the Lord. It had been 6 weeks--I was about ready to stop crying on a daily basis.
On the morning of February 2nd I got the call about Leanne. There was no way I was believing it--she was too young and healthy and for God's sake she had already survived Breast Cancer, an abusive marriage and the loss of her brother only a few years before. Lee and I were raised together. She was only a year older than me--we went to school together from start to finish, played on the same softball, basketball and track teams together. We ran in the same circles our whole lives with the exception of about 10 years after high school when we were both in college and starting our careers. The past 8 years however we were together all the time. We worked together in a rural health clinic--her in the lab and me in nursing. We visited daily and hung out together on the weekends. To say the least WE WERE TIGHT!!! Our kids are friends and are very close in age so we enjoyed many of their activities together as well.
It's been almost a month now and I have been to the lab a total of 2 times and to be quite honest it's a struggle daily to even get up and come to work.
These two women have had such a profound effect on my life that it's difficult to even put into words. They knew everything there was to know about me and I knew all about them. We shared our deepest thoughts, ideas, dreams and emotions with one another. I've never laughed harder than when we were together and I've never loved harder.
The smallest things remind me of a moment, a time that we shared together and suddenly I'm breaking down. Does this ever get easier?