Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shine bright, Firefly

Two weeks ago a light went out too early.  A dear, wonderful, gregarious, warm woman who was just my age lost her battle with cancer.  I have had a really tough time processing this.

Christy wasn't a friend I saw often.  Hell, it'd been years since I'd last seen her.  But from the moment she and her family parked their camper in our yard she was my friend.  We must have been in middle school at the time, and Christy was everything I admired: confident, beautiful, hilarious and kind.  We were fast friends from that day forward, writing letters between family visits, sometimes even coughing up for long-distance calls.  But years passed and our friendship became somehow less immediate.  Even then, I thought of her far more often than my correspondence would attest.

When I learned of her illness I wanted to call, to give her support, to tell her that I loved her and was hoping against hope for her triumph.  But I didn't.  I suck at saying "the right thing" during difficult times.  I felt like my sorrow and anger paled in comparison to her own, like I didn't even deserve to feel it.  I felt like talking about my wonderful family in our great health doing our whatevers would sound trivial.  So many excuses, and I didn't call.  I thought of her and I feared for her.  But the cancer was fast and I was slow.

Still I believe - from our Facebook correspondence, partly, but mostly because of her magnanimous and loving and generous nature - that she knew.  I had the honor of spending a day with her parents, as they began their healing process.  I feel unfairly lucky - it's not fair that I get to have two beautiful daughters and a house in the mountains and a glass of red wine and my health - but while it is not fair, they helped me to see that it isn't my fault, either.  And I promise you, Christy, that I will never again let the fear of saying the wrong thing cause me to say nothing.  Shine on, beautiful woman, shine on.


Paul said...

Well said Angie. I have found myself failing to say what I felt out of some combination of fear and complacency.

Angie said...

Thanks, Paul - glad you can relate. I think it's such an important lesson to share - I hope never to do it again... xoxo-AOK