Monday, May 11, 2015

Blindsided and Lost

A friend of mine (who happened to also be my immediate supervisor) was diagnosed with cancer in late February. Suffice it to say, the funeral was Saturday, and I can't convey the shock and despair we're feeling.

She was friendship and sunshine and all that was good and right in the world. She made a difference. If that sounds trite, well, tough cookies, it's true.

Probably the oddest piece of trivia that I've learned in the last several days is that someone I dubbed Nemesis in a much earlier blog was her sorority sister at our undergraduate school. One of the people who hurt me the most in my life, and for no reason other than she was mean as a snake, was a pledge the year that my friend was a junior. Mercifully, I rushed as a sophomore, after my friend graduated, so she never knew about it- although having known her, she would never have let it color her perception of me. They were opposites; my friend was good, and Nemesis, evil, under the roof of the same sorority house. The Good Sister had the most influence on me, while the Bad Sister is a distant unpleasant memory.

Two days before the funeral, and two days after my friend died, I arrived at the library to open up in the morning. Standing outside was a young woman wearing a sorority sweatshirt. I asked, as I let her into the building, where her chapter was since the one at my university lost its charter long ago. The next day, I discovered that it was my friend's sorority- the closest chapter is currently in a state north of us. What were the odds?

Message received.

My heart aches and I want nothing more than to go home and hide in my bed, but the truth of the matter is that we have to go on. She'd want us to go on. We have a daunting task at hand and failure is not an option. 

Let me close by saying that if you have not recently had cancer screening appropriate to your age and family history, please do so as soon as you can manage. Don't leave it too late. I am violently sick of cancer and the agony it your part so that if you get it, detection is early and you have some chance of surviving.