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It Gets Real

She had warm eyes and the sweetest smile, but it was her wit that took my breath away. You had to pay attention because her comments were quiet, under-the-breath, but they would make you snort-laugh and shoot your champagne out your nose.

To be honest, I didn’t know her very well, we only met a few times, yet here I sit with a hole in my heart. I wanted to know her better. I intended to get to know her, but we ran out of time, and now it will never happen.

Elizabeth belonged to my support group, the Young Survival Coalition, a circle of friends all battling breast cancer much too young. Daughters and grand daughters, sisters, friends, wives, and mothers of young children – a group of women I embrace, knowing full well that it will lead to my heart break again, and again, and again.

This is where it gets real. You might think losing my hair or the amputation of a breast would make it real, but those are such trivial things when death becomes an issue. I know that in the years to come, some of these women I hold so close to my heart will die. I know I might be one of them. There is so much love in this group, and so much understanding. These women comprehend the pain, the fatigue, the body image issues, the adjustment to life with this monster inside, and worst of all, the fear that someone else will end up raising your child. They live with it, too.

This is the first time since my diagnosis that someone I know died of breast cancer. I hope I never get used to it.

Godspeed E-beth, and love to your husband and children.

bird-1

You can learn more about my cancer story here:

my cancer story | Judy Schwartz Haley

 

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Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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