This past Tuesday a friend of mine passed away from Breast Cancer.
She was not the type of friend that I had coffee with or called to discuss the latest saga of child dramas, but that didn’t make her any less of a friend.
I first met Beth when Marley, my eldest, was just a baby. I had been taking a stroller fitness class for several months when this bubbly red head joined our group with her new, and equally red-headed, daughter. She was always smiling. It didn’t matter how much Kate fussed, nothing seemed to get Beth down. Every Tuesday and Thursday our little group would meet to walk, lunge, do planks on the grass over our infants and bond as new mothers.
I exercised all through my pregnancy with Paige despite some pelvic issues that made it painful. The camaraderie was something that was hard to walk away from. Once Paige arrived and I was cleared to exercise again, it was back to my standing Tuesday and Thursday date. If you’re a Mom, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that there is an instant bond between Moms that is hard to beat! Life eventually got in the way and I traded my Buggy Babies days for preschool, Teeny Tiny Ballerinas and my own school courses. But living in a small town, you inevitably run into one another every so often. Whenever I would run into Beth with Kate and her new son John, it was always the same smiling, bubbly young woman that I’d gotten to know while sweating in the park with our infants!
Kate started dancing at the same dance school as Marley and Paige and then Christine came along for me and Emma for Beth. Little did I know how much things had changed for Beth during that last pregnancy! I often complain that Christine “wrecked” me, but I really have nothing to complain about. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know about Beth’s earlier diagnosis. I found out about Beth’s cancer when she got the Stage 4 diagnosis and went “public” in September of 2011. Why has her illness affected me so? To be honest, it is two pronged. I know what it’s like to lose a Mother at a young age and I just can’t imagine what those kids have already gone through and what lies ahead. I know they have a strong family presence to keep them grounded but I also know that it is still going to be a struggle. Their Mom was the biggest fighter I have ever known so they have that going for them! And then there is my empathy for what I’m sure Beth was going through knowing that she was going to leave this Earth without seeing those beautiful children grow, get married and have children of their own. The thought of dying doesn’t scare me and I’m sure it didn’t scare Beth either, but the thought of leaving my children “half-formed” terrifies me!
My aunt once told me of a vision she had of my Mum and Dad standing beside the wreckage of our car with me still trapped inside. My Mum didn’t want to leave but Dad just took her hand and somehow communicated to her that I would be well taken care of and it was time to go. I think of that vision often. I know my parents are watching over me and I know Beth will be watching over her children too. Hopefully those of us left behind will do her justice and care for and nurture her little legacies almost as well as she would have. Continue reading