This is all too familiar, but with a heavy heart, I mourn the loss of my good childhood friend, Abby. Abby sadly passed away on Sunday evening (April 17th) after a fight with cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Not hereditary, environmental, or anything else. Just effing bad luck.
Abby was first diagnosed last January (2015) and although she endured the difficulties of radiation, chemotherapy, and continuous hospital stays, she fought with her heart and soul and never gave up. Abby was a mother of two (Miri – 3 year old daughter, and Jaren- 5 year old son), a wife, a daughter, a dedicated and loving friend. She suffered through cancer all of 2015, but in December was in remission. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend quality time with her over Christmas Break in Sunriver. We cross country skied, went sledding with the kids, laughed, and talked. She was relieved to have had 2015 in the past and looked forward to 2016 and not having cancer. When I said goodbye to her, I had no idea it was the last time I was going to see her….I already miss her warmth, laugh, smile, and simply put, everything about her. SOB!
My heart goes out to her children, family, and everyone else affected by her death. She had an infectious smile, loud laugh (that would make everyone else laugh), positive attitude, and a heart of gold. During this sadness and heartache, not only do I treasure my memories and times together with Abby, but I also am committed to celebrate life and love and the good friends that we are luckily connected to.
Abby and I had been friends since elementary school. We were great friends, especially in Middle and High school where we would spend all our week lunches and weekends together. She was a friend, but also an older sister (she was a year older), and someone I looked up to, loved, and treasured. I am thankful that I was able to tell her I loved her (on Sunday through a text her aunt read to her), and it makes me want to tell everyone that I love, how much I love them. (Never wait).
Not that anyone wants to know how to deal with someone who has cancer, but Abby’s husband is a perfect example of how to communicate with such grace and honesty. As a friend, I would receive updates from Abby’s Army on her status and what the family needed. These emails were always so clear and I always knew how to help out — not that it made anyone feel much better….but it just made it easier and clear. For example:
- Please send your positive energy, prayers, thoughts to Abby for this Wednesday’s bone biopsy. In our meditation and prayers we’re asking for any remaining cancer cells from her surgery to be weak and localized to the surgery site w/out any spreading to other parts of the body.
- Abby wants to hear from you, but she wants the focus to be on what’s happening in your lives, etc. No need to focus on the cancer. Tell a funny story. Make her laugh and smile. You get the idea!
- We understand laughter may be difficult at this stage. An uplifting e-mail works or a positive text during day hours. She loves bright vibrant colors if you want to send a card. Go nuts!
- Walks! If you’re local, Abby will have some time around the house as things kick off. She’s mentioned several times how much walks with many of you have lifted her spirits. Just follow her lead and energy level
- We will be spending a lot of time at UWMC so if you were ever needing an excuse to shop at University Village we will be just down Montlake and I’m sure if Abby is up to it she would love to see you.
For our family:
- Smiles, hugs, positive energy. Keep it coming!
- If you have kids the age of Jaren and Miri, we may call on you for play dates.
- Just knowing you’re there will help.
We’ve never been through this before, so I expect this list will grow. Share this e-mail if it can help inform others. I’ll add any e-mails to this list other updates like these. Please no social posts at this time. There may be a time for this later, we’ll see. When you see us, don’t feel obligated to do anything and please don’t feel awkward. A hug, hello, and a smile is all you need. We know that every one of you is very sorry to hear this news. We are too and our hope is that none of you ever have to have this news. For now – we are where we are and the most productive use of all of our energy is positive thinking and push for the best possible outcome.
Love and healing.
So with sadness, I say au revoir / goodbye to Abby. I will always treasure our memories fondly and you will forever be in my heart. I love you, Abs.