Friday, April 1, 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, breast cancer took my best friend.  Judy hadn't been getting her mammograms because she was one of those women who always took care of every one else instead of herself.  And in less than two weeks from diagnosis, she was gone.

Judy was the very definition of a friend.  Always there, no matter what.  She lived quite a ways from our office, and when the weather was bad she would spend the night at my house.  After the last night she spent, she gave me a pair of earrings and wrote a note on the card holding the earrings thanking me for the girl time.  To this day, I have not removed those earrings from the card.

I have a hard time keeping weight on and every day when we ate lunch together, Judy watched to make sure I ate everything.  One year when our office was closed for three days due to ice, Judy had spent the time off crocheting hats for every single girl in the office.  She did all the alterations anyone needed and the only way to pay her was to sneak the money on to her desk...or she'd refuse payment no matter how much work she had done.  I finally learned to make her promise to accept whatever payment I decided beforehand just to get her to accept the money.  Judy didn't have a lot of money, but if she ever heard you say you needed something...within a couple of days...it would appear on your desk.  As I sit here at my desk, I look around the room at the things she had given me over the years.  It soothes me to see them every day.

Judy suffered terribly from SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  A couple of months ago, I was in a local store and found one of those sun lamps SAD sufferers are supposed to sit under to get more sunlight.  I was thrilled it was on sale (they're quite expensive) and immediately grabbed it off the shelf.  About an aisle or so later, I realized I didn't have her to buy it for and my husband found me there in the aisle holding the box and crying.

This past Sunday, a friend had gotten a new cell phone and needed help re-entering her phone list.  As I scrolled through my contacts, Judy's name appeared.  I could feel my heart breaking all over again almost a year later.

Breast cancer is a killer.  If there is any woman in your life you love, encourage them to get their mammograms.  Hell, I don't even care if you despise them...I don't want anyone else lost to this disease.  Women, remember that you can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself first.

And that listing in my contacts?  It's still there.  I don't know if I'll remove it.  Maybe next year.  Maybe...never.

5 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Cancer is a terrible thing. My mom had breast cancer as well, beat it, only to get ovarian cancer. We lost her a year ago last month, she would have been 53 that year. I too, still have her number in my phone, still go to turn down her street, still go to call her when I have a question. She was a wonderful, caring person much like your friend. I think the best advice I can offer, aside from a 'virtual' hug, is these sweet, caring, giving people only wanted to see us happy. And no matter how hard it is, they would want us to keep living, keep pressing on and keep smiling. Take a few minutes, and honor her by a memory that makes you laugh. Smile for her today. Hugs to you hun.

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  2. Tears, dear Jerri... I so hope that Judy and my Mumsie are having a girl chat about how much they loved us and how happy they are that we learned from them. Love you, sweetie!

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  3. Jerri that was sad and well told. I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend Judy. You bring a good message and that women need to get thier checks done.

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  4. Im sorry for the loss of your friend...I am a breast cancer survivor and most of my drive to thrive was my two daughters! I wanted to be here to see them grow into the beautiful young ladies they are today (ages 23 and 21) I wrote a book about my dealings with breast cancer "it is what it is...beating breast cancer using chemo, radiation and email" please check out my website sites.google.com/site/carolchatellierkleinrockauthor/ The book is a really good tool to help someone heading into treatmentknow what to expect or for family and friends to know "what not to say and do for someone with cancer" Im just so sorry that my girls will forever have to check off "YES" in the "is there a history of breast cancer in your family" column

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  5. Carol, I am glad you are still here to be with your daughters! Checking out your website now!

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