All the wrong things

I’ve been worrying about all the wrong things.

Last night, what kept me awake was seemingly important– the dirty dishes in the sink, the weight I want to lose, the fine lines forming around my mouth. Back-to-school haircuts and a plethora of deadlines rounded out the list, along with regrets over trusting someone in a recent relationship with whom my better judgement told me to exercise caution. Damn that better judgement. It’s always right.

When I couldn’t sleep, I checked my email. I opened one from a dear colleague, Tersea, someone I’ve worked with for years. Despite her living in South Africa and me in the States, we’ve become close. In the same way many of you peer over a cubicle wall or a backyard fence at the people you speak most to each day, I connect with Tersea via technology. I talk to her more often than the people living just a few hundred feet from me. We collaborate on everything from how to handle communications regarding a major company acquisition to our latest favorite metaphysical book. We’re tight.

I pictured her smiling face when I opened the email and read:

“The results of my PET scan weren’t good. The cancer has metastasized and spread to my entire liver. They have also discovered a new tumor in my colon. The spread has been so aggressive between the March CT scan and the one done in June, that there are more than 30 tumors in my liver and it’s inoperable . . . So my cancer is incurable.”

To say I gulped is an understatement. And this is not my first rodeo. I helped my mother die. And my father do the same. I tended to the demise of my marriage and the life that died with it. Did I mention my ex had colon cancer that traveled to his liver and is now undergoing chemo? This email hit close to home.

She continued: “I want to use the time ahead to grow spiritually and to share kindness and empathy where I can. I am going to live and love vicariously and make sure that my hubby and kids are left with memories of me smiling and being positive . . . Thank you for being such incredible friends and for supporting me during this journey. We still have lots of good stuff to do . . . ! With lots of love from South Africa.”

All of my usual go-to’s—driving over to see her, bringing the family meals, long walks together where we figure out life and love as we’ve so often done—don’t work in this situation. She is thousands of miles away.

We talked this morning and in usual form, she was insistent we take care of business before the personal stuff. It felt surreal to be discussing video shoots and corporate forecasts. When we had done our due diligence on the tasks at hand, she brought me to tears as she mustered her usual grace and said: “Kristine, I am so honored that you have been a part of my soul group and journey in this lifetime. I know we were meant to connect. What would I have done without your love and support all these years?”

I said nearly the same to her. The woman who can talk about past life regression as easily as she fills you in her latest favorite trash TV show has a special place in my heart. So few people stand out as shining lights to me. There are many I love but only a select few who inspire and “get” me. She is just such a one. I lost another one some eight years ago. Nary a day goes by (truly) where I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and hear Audrey’s sage counsel one more time, make her laugh uproariously into my ear.

Today, I struggle to write. To finish a major speech for a major executive. To write on topics that matter in the day-to-day world but not so much in the big picture of life.

It gives me pause. My soul sisters seem to be bailing from this life left and right.

I do what we all do, what keeps me sane. Today, I will finish that major speech. I will work late to meet other deadlines. I will take my son and his friends to the pool, hoping their laughter will buoy my spirits. I will resolutely put my last relationship out of my mind and move into a future where a good man awaits (Do you hear that, Universe? I am stating it as a definitive occurrence. Take note.). I will do my speed workout, which will kick my butt and leave me lying on the floor, panting. I will cook a healthy dinner, working my way slowly toward that weight loss goal. I will walk the dog, pay some bills and otherwise tread water. And I am sure I will shed tears privately, as I am right now, for another loss in my life I feel unprepared to meet.

And then, hopefully, I will do all the right things in a big way. I will drink wine with friends and belly laugh. I will hug my children and be sure they feel the light and love I wish for them every day. I will pay time and attention to those that merit it and walk calmly and kindly away from those who don’t. I will lie in the bathtub bubbles, thanking God for health and ease—every bit of that extra 20 pounds, because at least it is a healthy 20 pounds.

There are so few ways I can honor her right now that getting on with it—with life—seems the only logical choice to do so. She is what I call a fellow light warrior, bringing a special kind of luminescence to a sometimes dark world. We may not always succeed, but it is not for lack of trying.

You can count on the fact that over the next few months, I will pray on my knees, meditate on my altogether too cushy ass and just love. I will appreciate every ounce of my faulty human beauty and even more so the divine part of me that lacks those same faults.

Tersea will like that.





59 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy Tartz Dadik says:

    Another wise and inspiring blog. Thank you, Krisse!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, friend, for reading and being in my corner:).

  2. As I began reading this post, I thought “Sounds just like me and all my new blogging friends, especially those I’ve met in person.” So many of them have become people from whom I seek advice and to whom I try t give comfort when needed. But then I got to that email and my heart stuttered. How horrid to receive such news from someone you consider a friend and whom you have no way of hugging in person. It’s one of the things I’ve been dreading since several bloggers I’m close to are not in good health. Virtual hugs to you and your friend.

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it amazing that the bonds the tie us can sometimes have nothing to do with physical presence? I find that amazing and helpful, actually :-). Thank you for stopping by and for the thoughtful comments.

  3. Claire says:

    Just found your blog and I’m now addicted. You write with such honesty and wisdom. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Your attitude is inspiring.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, that is one of the nicest things you can say to a writer. Nothing wrong with a healthy addiction :-). Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for the kind words!

  4. i am so sorry to hear of your friend’s illness. You are an inspiration and I am sure she will draw strength from you, even at a distance.
    Take care.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. And you also! We’re all on the clock here. So easy to forget.

  5. No words of wisdom, just a commitment to pause today in greater consciousness for the bounty of blessings too easily lost to the chaos of my best intentions.

    1. candidkay says:

      As usual, you put it so eloquently. The chaos of our best intentions–an apt description. I’ll make the same commitment today.

  6. Aunt Beulah says:

    You are blessed to have a friend of her insight and wisdom and by sharing her with us, you have blessed us as well. Thank you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. She is a blessing worth sharing!

  7. K, I’m silently weeping and forcing a knot in my throat to relax. I have been blessed beyond measure that I’ve not lost a peer, ever, in my life to somatic and cellular death. Instead, most of mine have atrophied due to misuse or distrust or full-on crazy. Walking away *calmly* from people who don’t matter and no longer help me live my best life will be my greatest endeavor to honor your love and friendship with Tersea. I know how you feel about your souls sisters.

    As for your intention, I want to suggest a yoga nidra, especially one with instruction on creating a sankalpa. When you are ready to submit to the ease and confidence a sankalpa ushers in, the utterance of your sankalpa will be just a formality.

    Much love to you. Xx

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m not familiar with a yoga nidra or sankalpa, but I will certainly look
      those up. Thank you for the kind thoughts and the suggestion:).

      1. A yoga nidra means “divine sleep”; it’s a guided body / breath meditation you perform lying down. Dr. Richard Miller has a great audio CD / MP3. iTunes has them also. It feels (to me) exactly what your spirit needs during these restless times. ❤️😊

  8. That puts it all in perspective. Love life, and those who matter, while we can, as fiercely as we can. Draw your own strength from your friend’s…

    1. candidkay says:

      I think that’s what she wants. You pegged it:).

  9. Beautiful, rueful, rich. So very sorry about T, Light Warrior (love that). You’ve opened yourself as a vessel so she can inspire us through you, K.

    “To write on topics that matter in the day-to-day world but not so much in the big picture of life.”

    Right on. There’s a maxim floating in the homeschool universe that the days are long but the years so short. You look up and your kids are gone. You paint a wonderful picture of the things we are left to do in the meantime with purposeful love and joy. Thank you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, you pegged one of my favorites sayings–that the days are long but the years are short. The older I get, the more true it rings:). I hope your home schooling summer has been rich and wonderful . . .

  10. Thank you, Kay, for sharing this part of your world with us. It’s so true, our little worries that keep us up at night are nothing compared to what others are journeying and going through. Hugs and love to you and your friend! And praying for you both as you journey this road together!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the prayers, hugs and love! I believe those are more than necessary:).

  11. RuthsArc says:

    Oh you have stopped me in my tracks this morning, watching the olympics, contemplating weekend chores. Blessings to you and your friends and all others going through real life challenges. You write so eloquently about all subjects. Thanks for sharing this awesome friendship and for encouraging me to take care of the big things x.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I am glad that despite the oceans between us, we can inspire each other:).

  12. Struggle, heartache. Loss, grief. And the laughter of children, the depth of light, the luminescence of love. Good wine. Great food. And the glorious comfort of a warm bubble bath. Walk outside on a starry night. Look up. The same sky is above your friend Tersea. She just sees the stars at a different time of day. Or night.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I love the starry sky bit. It is nice to know we are looking at the same starry sky, even if evening falls at different times for us. Thank you for that comforting thought.

  13. Your soul sisters are bailing out. I truly feel for you. There are not many people who have woken up enough to converse across all perspectives and talk in several dimensions within the same conversation. I have a few myself, and cherish our relationships. Sending love and living your life are the best things you can do for her (as you already know). My heart is with both of you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I keep thinking there must be a reason they’re bailing but I keep kicking. Time to make that bucket list . . .

  14. Inspired to focus on what really matters. Praying for you and your friend.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much. The prayers matter!

  15. I am sorry Kay. Damn I don’t know how you are doing. Give the remainder of the friendship your best, so that none of you have wishlist left

    Take care

    1. candidkay says:

      Yep. No wishes left outstanding is an awesome goal in a situation like this one. Puts roommate issues, however horrible, into perspective, right? 🙂

      1. Yeah you are right Kay

  16. Tersea Gouws says:

    Thank you, Kristine, for your words, love and encouragement.

    1. candidkay says:

      And to you for your friendship, Tersea:). See all the love coming at you here from all over the globe?! Amazing, girl.

  17. Su Leslie says:

    I can only agree with the wisdom already offered here and repeat how beautifully you have expressed your pain right now. Kia Kaha — stand strong.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so very much. I am loving this Kiwi saying.

      1. Su Leslie says:

        😊 somehow it encapsulates the way we want to reach out to others better than words in English.

  18. George says:

    Sometimes I read something and know as I’m reading it that there are words. This is one of those times. I will pray for your fellow light warrior and all those who share your love for her. God bless.

    1. candidkay says:

      No words is just fine and the prayers are appreciated. I hesitated to write about it because any words I put to it seem inadequate in the face of it . . .

      1. George says:

        It was a beautiful tribute to a good friend, Kay.

  19. That is the core of what you are Kristine…that love and empathy that emanates from you regardless of your circumstances, a light warrior for all those things in life.
    And as you said, of all the things you can do for another…is just to be yourself, that connection that is truly you 🙂
    Sometimes it feels inadequate, but truly, inside is a big love…built from a heart like no other.
    And you will share that, because it is who you are. And your friend will appreciate the rock she can lean on, in a very testing part of her life, because of the strength you have gained in the many losses in your life. And no, it is never easy, especially from those that were so close.
    A very big hug, for you and Tersea ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much, Mark. Funny, I was the girl who was the ninny growing up:). And now seem to be shaped into a rock by overcoming that very ninnydom. A very big hug to you also, fellow rock.

  20. lorigreer says:

    Your lovely, heartfelt post reminded me of loved ones lost, the importance of loving and living fully today. I was in a funk due to minor issues but your post brought me back to the important issues of living. You and your friend are lucky to have each other. Hugs, Lori

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, that makes me so glad. Truly, if my writing and Tersea’s experience can be a reminder, we’ll both be happy. I hope your funk was only short-lived and remains at bay. Hugs right back ‘atcha:).

  21. Judy says:

    Seven years ago, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I still want to call her up and hear her gallows humor that left us both laughing so hard tears rolled down our faces. She taught me about graciousness. I’m still not as good at it as she was, but I’m still working on improving. Yes, living your life with joy is the best way to honor her. Praying for you both.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Judy, for the prayers. I know you know that the love remains, but I think in our dense human form it is sometimes fighting to get through to us. Here’s to lightening up, all of us.

  22. Dying and death always seem to drag us back to this moment, screaming at us to stop and evaluate what matters the most. To remember how short this precious life is. My beautiful friend also has terminal cancer and I agree with all you have shared. We need to live fully for them , because it honors their life and keeps us present to ours. 💚💚

    1. candidkay says:

      Exactly. Living fully, rather than retreating permanently into a tempting cocoon, makes all the difference and honors them. You peg it every time.

  23. My heart aches for you. As always, even in the midst of insurmountable grief, you write beautifully. I still can’t help but think, Damn, Universe, give this woman a break. I feel the same way as too many people, kindred spirits, who put so much light into an often very dark world, are taken prematurely. In the past week I have had numerous situations that have forced me to put various worries into perspective. Just now, I was sitting at my desk with an old-school pro/con list, trying to decide if I should take a job that I know will come with an ample amount of soul-suck. I stopped and decided to zone out on the Internet, so I pulled up WordPress and your post popped up. I do believe we’re connected in ways that we can’t comprehend, and I have to tell you that reading this at this exact moment felt like a sign. I’ll be sending your friend as much love and light as I can muster, and I’ll do the same for you, friend. xoxo

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, if my post and Tersea’s experience played even the tiniest role in keeping you from soul-suck, that will make us both extremely happy:). I believe in the same connections and that timing is not random. Thank you for the love and light–sending some back your way.

  24. Amy says:

    In a few short paragraphs, you have painted a gorgeous portrait of your beloved Tersea. What a luminary she is! A light as incandescent as hers could illuminate even the darkest hour. And it will, long after her earthly journey is complete.

    “My soul sisters seem to be bailing from this life left and right.” I, too, have felt this and lived this…

    I wish I had wise words to share here, since I can’t wave the magic wand I so wish I had. All I can do is hold space for you and offer my love and heartfelt prayers for Tersea. And for you, too. Sending all my love. ❤️ xxoo

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, sweet friend. Is it just reaching that age where this stuff happens? I feel like so many of my best loved have passed on or are somehow contemplating it. Thank you for the love and the prayers–both accepted gratefully. XXOO

  25. Archita says:

    Losing someone is a near death- or maybe a complete death of the thread that we call relationship/friendship. Do what you are doing the best now, Kristine. Being in the present, and being mindful both help. We cannot live in the past memories for long, it seems unreal after some point. And living in future causes anxiety. I hope your friend gets better. I hope you both can meet real soon. Until that, pray and hope and live.

    1. candidkay says:

      Wise words. I know the present moment is all we have. It just slips through our fingers so quickly . . .

  26. suemclaren24 says:

    Beautifully said. Again.

    1. candidkay says:

      Nicer words could not have been spoken to this writer. Thank you, as always, for reading.

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