I lost yet another friend this week. To cancer.
Her name is Beth. She was a massage therapist in her career. But she was more than that. A sister. A daughter. An aunt, a cousin. She was everyone's friend, and she fed stray kittens.
Our relationship was short, about five years.
After I was diagnosed with my brain tumor, she contacted me.
"I hear you are looking for people to walk with you. I'll walk with you."
Honestly, when she first contacted me, I could not even see her face in my head. Our paths had crossed briefly and intermittently when Ken and I were attending the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
But there she was.
So we went for a walk. And then we went for another one. And then, after a while, she offered to gift me a massage. Ten days before I had my surgery, we both imagined Norman shrinking from the size and consistency of a walnut, to the size of an almond.
After my surgery, I rarely saw her. She was not part of the regular group that visited me.
A few years after my surgery, I found myself with an extra ticket to the Motherlode concert at WWU. I put it out on Facebook that I had an extra ticket, and we got to sit together. I think that was probably the last time I communicated with her until after Ken's heart attack.
I only heard she was sick right after he got out of the hospital, and she was VERY sick by that time. And she had been sick for a while. Cancer. Stage 4. Just a little time left.
I never knew a thing about it.
I saw her three times after the day I found out she was sick. Once, I brought a sandwich to her at her house. She tried to pay for it. I told her, “next time, you pay.”
I called her to make plans again. Sadly, things had progressed very quickly, and four weeks after that sandwich, she was on her way to Hospice.
I entered her room, there was quiet singing. I walked up to her bed, took her hand, got close to her and said, “I brought you a sandwich, it's your turn to pay.” Her eyes opened wide, and when she saw me, she smiled. Her lungs were so filled with fluid, she hardly had any breath to talk. I had time to kiss her hand, say thank you and goodbye.