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.
This week as all these thoughts and feelings were milling about my head and heart, I broke out my February Gossamer Blue kit and just started sticking photos to paper. It helped clear my head a bit. Okay, a lot! The kit was all pink and hearts and love and while I do love my family deeply, we don’t do a whole lot for Valentine’s Day so I was wondering exactly what I was going to create with the rest of my supplies. Then I thought of Beth’s blog – Pinkalicious Pandora and it clicked. Pink is the colour we all think of when we think of Breast Cancer awareness so I pulled out those photos from the Walk for the Cure in 2011, when I had the absolute privilege of walking with Beth and her family to raise some money to fight this awful disease that would eventually take her, and got busy.
There was only one sheet of the pale creamy yellow card stock in the kit so I dug through my stash for something as close as possible and then arranged several of the papers from my kit onto them. Splatters of dark grey and pink mist for more visual texture and then it was time for photos.
I tucked my journaling card behind a couple of Bella Blvd feathers from my own stash.
It was hard to look at these photos of Beth looking so vibrant. At then end she looked anything but! But this day we were really all full of hope that Beth would beat the odds.
Here are some shots of the details.
I thought this cluster of tags needed a little something but buttons and enamel dots weren’t hitting the right note with me. So I grabbed my Wink of Stella pen and painted on some glitter. I ended up adding around the edge of the entire layout but it’s hard to see.
I just went simple with the title to keep the focus on the person not the event.
While all these embellishments seemed sickly over the top mushy when I contemplated using them for my own family, here they fit. If there is one thing I am sure of it’s that Beth was love, had love and was surrounded by love all through this battle.
On the back of the journaling card I glued this photo of me with Tanya (on the left) who owns Buggy Babies and Shannon, another of the regulars. I originally thought I’d add it to the layout but as it unfolded, this photo seemed out of place. But I still wanted to remember that I was there. That we were there. Those Buggy Babies days were so much fun!
This is perhaps not the most flattering photo of Beth but it completely captures her personality. Full of colour. Full of fun. Hands full of her children. And really, aren’t those socks the bomb?!
Even though the embellishment groupings are not the same they both contain similar elements. A round label (this one is a sticker), a piece of flair, a button and a wood veneer heart. Similarity through variety!
Usually these man and woman figures are used to depict a couple. In this case they represent the Heras family.
Well, there we are. Team Pinkalicious Pandora. From now on I will always walk in memory of Beth.
Thanks for letting me share my memories of my friend with you. I love this little obsession of mine for allowing me to get down onto paper what is in my heart. Beth’s Celebration of Life is tomorrow (Sunday). If you knew Beth too and are interested in going the details can be found here.