Birthdays In Heaven · Breast Cancer · Cancer · death · Death and Dying · funerals · grief · healing · Illness · Life After Loss · love

2019 | the worst year of my life

It has been a long, long time since I have written anything. The last several months have been ROUGH. This has probably been the worst year of my life if I’m being honest.

I was lucky enough to have two life long best friends. As you know, I lost T in 2012. Losing him made me cherish my other best friend even more.

This girl is amazing. I am so incredibly lucky that I had her for 25 years. We literally would do everything together, whether it was hanging around the house with her three little ones, grocery shopping, late night trips to target where we ended up buying all kinds of things we didn’t need, and most importantly, we watched Grey’s Anatomy every Thursday night. We lived together for almost a year and it was a blast. The late nights when we would sit in the kitchen drinking chocolate milk and laughing hysterically are some of my favorite memories. She amazed me.

No matter what was thrown at her she handled it with such  grace and strength. She beat breast cancer the first time. She was pregnant while she fought the cancer, and fortunately her and sweet Harper made it to the other side. We were so amazingly happy and relieved when we got the news that she was cancer free! Harper is two years old now.

Fast forward to December 2018, C went to the ER because she was having pain and other issues, and after scans and tests she was told her cancer is back. It was like a nightmare. After her ER visit she saw her oncologist and it was even worse news. Her breast cancer is now metastatic breast cancer. It is terminal. We are all in complete shock. Once again, she amazes me with her attitude and her will to make the rest of her time on earth the best for her three children.

I began fundraising and setting up meal trains and everything else that I could possibly do to help her in any way I could. I packed my things, kissed my boyfriend and cats goodbye and moved back home to be there with her every day. Some radiation was attempted but it does nothing. The cancer is spreading incredibly fast, to her lungs and brain. Hospice begins.

One of her dreams since she became a mama was to take her babies to Disney World. Myself and an incredible group of other individuals made that happen by fundraising and setting up events within our community. In February ten of us fly to Florida for an incredible week of making memories at Disney. She struggles a little, and ends up needing an electric wheelchair (something she absolutely does not want) but overall it is amazing. I know that even though her babies are only five, three and two (we celebrated that 2nd birthday in Disney) they will always remember this trip with their mama. Even if they don’t remember it clearly, you can bet we have a million photos to show them.

She is tired. This trip took so much out of her. Things start to go downhill pretty quickly. Stairs are getting harder. A hospital bed is brought to her living room. She can’t handle bath time and bedtime routines for the kids by herself. Leaving the house for short periods of time becomes harder and harder. This all hits her very hard. She is a very independent and on-the-go kind of girl. The loss of her independence and privacy is very difficult. She can no longer be alone at all because she is at risk of strokes and seizures because the cancer in her brain is causing swelling.

The kids are home with her less and less. This breaks her heart. She has more and more medical issues everyday. This wears her down. She’s eating less and less. Taking more and more medication. She is losing herself, and I am watching it every single day. I take care of her nearly every day from January to April 15th. I am conflicted on how I feel about this. I am so thankful and grateful that I get to be there to care for her, love her, laugh with her. But it is so damn hard to watch her literally fade away with each day. Her personality begins to change. The cancer in her brain is drastically affecting her memory, mood, and personality.

Around the end of March, I watch her finally surrender. She is so tired, and so sick, and she begins to tell me she is ready. This is my worst nightmare. I think when you love someone that is terminal, in the back of your mind you still know it’s coming, but for the most part, at least for me, I was living in a sense of denial. Maybe denial isn’t the right word. But I always put it out of my mind. I don’t think about it because I have to smile and laugh and color and help her play with her babies. When she tells me she can’t do this anymore, that she is ready to die, I can no longer deny it. My heart is shattered. How will I ever live without her? She is my person. My “sister-wife”. My best friend. My heart. I tell her it’s okay. I understand. I am supportive. I go home at night and cry myself to sleep. I am brave for her, but I feel like my world is falling apart.

The weekend of April 13-14 was a relative good one. It seems like her medication adjustments are really helping. She is actually eating (more than she had in weeks). She has a great visit with her family. The kids come and snuggle her in her hospital bed. Her pain seems to be better controlled. I was thrilled.

On Sunday April 14th, her mom and I put her to bed. We do this every night, and it has become quite a routine getting her comfortable with all of her blankets and pillows and adjusting her. Around 10:20 pm she is finally comfortable. I hug and kiss her goodnight, tell her I love her (to the moon and back forever), and I will see her in the morning. I go home and get in bed.

For some reason I could not sleep. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t. Around 5 or 6 in the morning I text her phone asking if she’s up yet (she usually was at that hour) but I get no response and remember thinking I am glad that she is sleeping. I fall asleep briefly before I am woken up around 7:30. I need to get there now, her mom says. Honestly, there were some days when she would be very impatient and demanding about me getting there (because severe personality changes), so I believe I just thought it was that. I get there less than 10 minutes later.

She is gone. 

My person is gone. She peacefully slipped away during an early morning nap. Her mother was with her. It was likely a stroke due to the cancer in her brain. I do not believe it was painful or traumatic for her. I do not believe she was scared or lonely. I sat with her for quite a while. I swear to you she had the most peaceful look on her face, even a bit of a smile. While my heart was completely broken, I was happy for her. Relieved for her. She had been telling me for the last few weeks she was ready, she wanted to go. It is an incredibly strange feeling to be devastated but also happy and thankful that my girl was finally at peace and free of her cancer ridden body. Cancer took so, so much from her. Even though we were all “prepared” for her death, it was still a shock. I think we all expected to have more time. Even if we did have more time, I don’t think we ever would have been ready.

The week that followed was a bit of a blur. Her visitations and funeral were beautiful. She chose a beautiful rose gold casket for herself. I curated a playlist full of many of our favorite Grey’s Anatomy songs. There were lots of sunflowers. She looked perfect. I have never seen a person look so gorgeous at their own funeral. I kissed her so many times. Reminded her how much I loved her. Hugged her children as many times as they would let me. It was incredibly sad, but also incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

The day after her funeral, I packed up all of my stuff from living at my moms those three and a half months, and I went home to my life and my boyfriend and my beloved cats. That was a little over six months ago. Since then, I have visited several times, always seeing her children. Her beautiful bench/head stone was put in. The seasons have changed. So much has happened in these last six months. I will elaborate another time, but this one is about my best girl. I miss her immensely. I still message her and text her. I still routinely begin to pick up the phone to call her, or tag her in something on facebook. I think about her almost constantly. I think my heart is still trying to figure out what to do without the other half. It is hard. Grief is hard. 

Today is her 30th birthday. We talked a lot about celebrating her 30th. She really wanted to take a girls trip to Nashville. At the time, things had not yet gotten bad, so I told her I would do whatever I could to make that dream a reality. Obviously that did not happen. What I would give to celebrate with her today!

Happy Birthday my sweet girl. I love you. 

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I do not like therapy or really talking about my feelings at all. I know this is not healthy, and so here I am, writing again. I have made a promise to myself that I will regularly write again. So stay tuned…

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