Remember what matters

Last night a good friend of my parents passed away...and it's left me a bit angry at life.
Shirley Dow was a kind woman - a real "dame", the kind you don't see much of anymore. She married my father's close friend Gavin about a decade ago and they spent their summers together up at Little Bear where my parents are. My parents were very close to them...they were supportive when my Mum's heart was bad, and they always were happy to see J and I when we were up to vist. Gavin and Shirley had spent years fixing their cabin up into a fantastic retirement home. In fact they'd just sold their home in Nipawin and were settling into retirement together last year...when Shirley was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She fought it. She had surgery and chemo and when it was all over, all the loss of hair and the weakness and the aches and nausea, it seemed like she had beat it. Her 6 month tests and biopsies all came back clean - she was finally feeling her old self and she and Gavin were starting to enjoy their retirement together.
Then a few weeks ago she didn't feel well.
She ended up going into the hospital on last tuesday with abdominal pain and slowly got worse and worse. Tests were inconclusive and they were still waiting on some of them...when we were up visiting my parents on the weekend she had taken a bad spell that night, coughing up blood and feeling absolutely horrible...and last night my Dad called to say she never recovered. That she's gone. I am sure that Gavin is devastated. My parent's are mourning the loss of a good friend.
And I'm just angry. It is not fair. Not at all...

This woman fought so hard for so long and we thought she'd beaten her cancer. She found strength she didn't know she had and clung to it to survive. I ran for her last year in the Cancer run once she was done chemo...she was a beacon of hope for me. Proof that you could survive cancer and go on. Someone I knew in my circle of family and friends who actually survived cancer instead of losing the fight. A face I would think of when I worked on the research here at work.

I will remember her. Her sarcastic humour would point out the good things in life. I still remember showing up to stay for our honeymoon at the cabin finding that she'd put balloons and signs up all over saying "garage sale this weekend - please knock to see the items!". She had a thing for what was "right", and an insane obsession with Martha Stewart. She was always making sure my Mum looked after herself. She was the sun in Gavin's universe...and I pray he will be alright.

I think of losing J so suddenly and my heart clamps up and freezes like ice. How do you go on from that? I'm sure you can...I mean people do. Things change...and things end. I was talking with my brother last night and he said something that has stuck with me all night - he said "well it just goes to show you - live every day like you mean it. You never get another today, and tomorrow might not come to you either. Remember what matters".

And so I resolve to do so.
Have a great day all. Hug those you love. Tell them they matter, and do what you want and need to do today to make it what you want to be. I know I will.


Anonymous said…
A wonderful post for a very strong lady -- I'm sorry she lost the fight, especially after all that. My thoughts are with everyone.
the Bag Lady said…
Cancer sucks. My mom died of colon cancer, and it was a similar story - she was cancer-free, supposedly, for the entire 5 year check-up period, then at the 5-year mark, they found it had spread to her liver. She died 6 months later.
My heart is with you and your family at this time!
Live like there's no tomorrow.
Pacian said…
It's going to sound like I'm being sarcastic or trite, but like a lot of people, I keep putting off living for today until tomorrow.

Very sorry for your loss. Shirley sounded like an awesome person.

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