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Monday, December 31, 2012

on love, loss and being a million stupid miles away

I don’t know how to write about what I’m about to write about, but I also know I can’t write about anything else until I do.


Let me tell you about Kellie.  She was the best of the best.  One of my dearest.  The kindest soul, the most loving heart.  She was nothing but my very favorite adjectives.  Kind, thoughtful, generous, beautiful, smart, funny, amazing, Kellie.  She was a world traveler, a doctor, she was a rock star and, as fate would have it, she was dating a rock star.  Literally.  But.  She also had cancer.  Four-and-half years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  These two words were heartbreaking.  To us, to her, to everything she had worked so hard to get.  She vowed to beat it and on those days when she didn’t feel like it, we reminded her she could.  And she did.  She beat the bananas out of it. 

And then I moved out of the country. 

Shortly thereafter it came back.  The cancer.  In all the wrong places -- as if there are any right places.  It was devastating.  To us, to her, to everything she had worked so hard to get back.  And to me.  Because I was now so far away, I couldn’t participate in the day to day.  I couldn’t rub her feet.  I couldn’t bring her dinner.  I couldn’t physically be there for her as I had before.  Many others thankfully were.

The second diagnosis was a terrible blow, but she found the courage and strength to face it.  She was determined to beat this life interrupter one more time.  And on those days when she didn’t feel like it, we reminded her -- me through email, texts and Skype -- that she did it before and she could do it again.  She would do it again.  And for a while, she was.  She was beating the bananas out of it. The lung cancer disappeared.  The brain cancer was getting smaller.  The clinical trial was a miracle.  She was a miracle.  She saw God. 

And then.  A month or so ago.  I don’t know why.  It all stopped working.  The clinical trial.  The miracle.  I prayed to God.  He felt very far away.  I felt further.

Kellie died on December 14th.   She was hardly forty.  She was the best of the best.  One of my dearest.  I will mourn her forever and celebrate her always.  She was nothing but my very favorite adjectives, and she always will be.  

And it is because of Kellie that I will be moving back to the country one day.  There was a moment, the day of the Newtown shootings, that I thought I wouldn't.  That I couldn't.  Hours later, on the same horrible day, I learned about my sweet friend and I knew I definitely would.

I don't know what it's like to lose a close friend when you're right next to them.  But I do know it's profoundly and unbearably painful to lose one when you're not.  The inevitability of life is death, and I want to be there for it all.  

The last text Kellie sent me was a week before her death.  “Hi, beautiful girl!!!!!!”  Three words, six exclams, all love.  That was Kellie.  


I miss you, beautiful girl!!!!!!

I so very much do.  

One of our many birthdays we were so lucky to celebrate together.
Kel is the beautiful smile in the upper right corner.