“So, when you least expect it . . .”

I’d love to blame it on the damn psychic.

Many years ago, an intuitive told me I had fulfilled my purpose for this lifetime in 2006 and was “sticking around” solely to bring strength to others. She made it sound like from there on in, it was all extra credit.

I don’t mind extra credit. In my grade school years, I did quite a bit of it while raising my hand far too much. But the idea of simply being a pillar of strength from here to the bitter end sounded a bit somber.

And yet. Since then, I have had more people in my life get ill, go through horrendous hardships of all ilk—and yes, die—than I ever thought possible. I’m beginning to think that if you and I are friends, your odds may not be so great.

As tempting as pointing a figure at this psychic might be, I know psychics don’t create the future. They just clue us in to possible versions of it.

It was with a heavy heart, then, that I saw a friend’s Facebook post just eight days ago:

“So when you least expect it, ‘it’ can come creeping back in to your life. ‘It’ being cancer. 

It is with an exhausted body, tear-filled eyes, that I share with you what is going on. 

Since February I have not been feeling well. I see my oncologist monthly and we have been monitoring certain things that may be ‘off.’ After my February appointment we decided it was time again for another scan. That scan happened yesterday and the results are not what anyone wants to hear. 

The cancer that in 2010 was found to have spread to my bones has now in a 6 week time frame taken over my liver. My liver is failing unless chemo is given. 

I begin weekly chemo on Thursday. I have been living with extreme exhaustion, nausea, inability to eat, dehydration, retention of water for a solid 3 weeks now & even though the chemo can help alleviate some of that because we have to “hit” the liver hard & fast with chemo it is going to wipe me out. 

My warriors are coming and I know many of you will want to help and I will take you up on that as soon as I know how or what we need help with.

As always I am the optimist and believe I am not done here on earth and that I will prevail, it’s going to be a tough road. One day hopefully sooner than later the shit cloud that I feel has plagued the 4 (now 3) of us will go shit on someone or something else. Keep us in your thoughts, positive energy is always helpful. 

❤️ you all. 

FYI, I sleep the majority of the day, please be mindful of coming by unexpectedly or phone calls. Text, email or good old fashioned snail mail works wonders to lift my spirits.”

My online response to this friend was: “Oh, Anne. This just seems too much. I am not there physically but please know I am with you every step of the way in spirit. I am sending love. And courage. And the biggest hug you can stand right now.”

My offline response was to let the tears come.

I was not one of Anne’s in-person warriors. She and I have remained friends since our youngest children were in preschool together almost a decade ago. But, she moved to another state so we communicated mainly electronically. We both have eldest children that have given us heartburn more than once. We both have had to be strong mama bears. We both feel things deeply.

I won’t share the bulk of those communications because they contain some things I think Anne should take to her grave with her. They are not mine to share. Mixed in with those very deep convos, though, are things like recipes for cold winter nights. Recipes that take zippo thought because you’re going through a hard time and too exhausted to deal with a proper dinner.

I found out, via text, that Anne passed away last night. My heart broke. Just nine months ago, her husband was killed by a driver who was too high not to hit him as he crossed an Arizona road. Her death leaves a high school senior and an eighth grader parentless. Without the mom who was still guiding them through their grief after their father’s death.

And, as life would have it, there’s a large case of Hint water on its way to her house because another friend and I thought it would help her stay hydrated and battle nausea during her chemo. That shows you where our heads were at the beginning of this week—not remotely close to anyone dying any time soon.

I share just a brief bit of Anne’s story because she loved this God-forsaken blog. She loved that I created what she called “goodness” from my deepest pain. She was a cheerleader from hundreds of miles away. It was not uncommon for me to get a message from her saying, “Holy crap, Kristine, your latest entry hit home!” or “Thank you for reminding me that it’s ok to not always be so strong—that everyone has cracks and those cracks are ok.” Friends that support you that consistently—and from a distance—are oh-so-rare. I know you know this. They’re the ones that we don’t forget.

When my ex got cancer–twice—Anne was the one who turned me on to a local cancer center with programs for kids going through what mine were. It was a godsend. I turned her onto some books that would help her kids learn about the Old Masters before they visited art museums in Europe. We shared in little ways, but they meant something to us.

I never thought I’d be thankful for electronic communication versus face to face, but the distance between us leaves me a sweet record of our back and forth. One that now makes me cry but also is a stark reminder that what we put out there while we’re here remains. And still has power even after we’re gone. I think that’s why many of us blog, right? I see, on my screen, the support we offered each other—alternating being “the strong one,” depending on which of us was facing another hurdle. That, for me, is a record of the magic we can all be for each other.

My last private words to Anne were: “I am here for you, despite the miles. I have been praying for you and sending love every single day.”

Not very profound, but these are the words most of want to hear when we’re hurting, I think.

I’ll leave you with Anne’s wise words to me—words she shared when she moved many years ago: “Being a kid who grew up moving every 2-3 years, I have learned that I never really EVER say goodbye. I have learned that I keep in touch with people no matter how long it has been or how far apart I am from them.”

I’m holding you to that promise, Anne. It may be a while before I see you again. I’ve got these boys who continue to need me. But, I’m counting on you to stay in touch. However you manage to do that. Even if it’s through that damned crazy psychic.


67 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    As you said in this post, as we get older, this seems to be happening more frequently among our friends. Each one is heart-breaking and this one touched me deeply.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Joanne. As my dad used to say, “Getting older is not for sissies.” That’s for sure.

  2. Tears came to my eyes.

  3. justinzen44 says:

    Our soul never dies.. It only gets free.. You already know it girl.. 😊✌ Love for all..

    1. candidkay says:

      Sounds like you already know it too . . . it’s a good feeling.

  4. anstalmi says:

    I cried as I read this post because I too have recently lost a friend to cancer. But I am also the cancer patient. So I know this disease from both sides. You write so eloquently. I have much to say about both sides, but I will save that for my blog. For now, I am so thrilled to have found someone with such insights to follow!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about cancer. But so glad that your photography is giving you a creative outlet during this time. I think that kind of positive activity helps so much during times of stress. I will keep you and your friend in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Beyond sad and so unfair. If we can believe that psychic, then things happen for a reason. We’re meant to live out a certain fate, or maybe go past our allotted time as she said you have. I’m so sorry for your friend. There are some things us mere mortals will never understand.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I agree, but it doesn’t stop me from trying to make sense of it all.

  6. Chills. I have no words for that family or for your grief. Wish I could take those kids under my wing. I will bet anything that as hard as she’d tried to be strong (or because she had) the loss of her husband did her in, left her vulnerable to the return of the cancer. I marvel at the mysteries of life everyday, my friend. The burdens, the grace that sees us through.

    Keep shining.

    1. candidkay says:

      I listened to a goop podcast this week. They interviewed Anita Moorjani—she talked about her NDE and cancer. It was pretty interesting. I won’t go into detail here, but you might want to check it out. And yes, I have to believe that some of the hardships in Anne’s life contributed. Which makes me so sad, because I wanted to be one of the friends that had helped her through the bad times and was there to applaud and things turned around.

      1. Sounds like she felt you to have been one of those friends.

      2. I don’t share her worldview but that was rich, and she elaborated well some very important things I’ve been aware of. Healing is not accomplished at the physical level. Which means neither is this where illness begins. I can go on about the western medical system, as you know. (And I won’t be as gracious.) How it doesn’t think to nurture the body and mind or mind the feelings, nurture wellness and something we rarely see anymore, vitality. It is about blasting the offending illness or symptom as though we were not a whole person, an interconnected universe of emotions, will, choices, and the stuff we put in our body that mechanically and literally builds our blood and tissue. I really appreciated the time she took with the fear, so prevalent in our life, the damned media, our parenting. I was reminded to change course in the way I urge T on to good choices, not to use fear to motivate but to empower him with love and hope. She said the opposite of fear is love. Apostle Paul wrote perfect love casts out all fear. Thank you for the recommendation.

      3. candidkay says:

        I’m so glad you listen to it. It was, for me, 20 minutes well spent. And I completely believe her treatise on energy medicine. That we are all energy and thus we become ill or healed at the level of energy.

  7. Oh, my dear. I’m so sorry that your dear friend Anne has died, so sad to read this post. This time, I’m the one sending hugs — to you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Cynthia. Hard to understand but then again the universe usually is :-).

  8. So sorry for your loss Kristine and Iam sure Anne will find a way to continue communication… with her boys too. Strength to them especially and May anne enjoy her new adventure beyond what we can see, but only a breath away❤️ much love to you barbara x

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Barbara. She leaves a son and a daughter. I know when we all reach the other side, we look back and understand. It is just hard to understand this right now. Thanks again for your kind words.

  9. Oh Kristine, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend. How sad for her kids. 😦

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree, Jennifer. I have been keeping those kids in my prayers every single day. And I probably will continue to do that forever.

  10. I read this and suddenly felt so very sad. Life can be so very hard. Thinking of you and the loss of a special friend and dear Anne and her children …

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I’ve been keeping her kids in my prayers. The more of us that do, the better. . .

  11. lisa74 says:

    My heart just broke a little for those kids…hopefully they have aunts or uncles or grandparents that they are close to so they don’t feel alone during this difficult time…

    1. candidkay says:

      Mine broke too. But they do have family that loves them. I’m just not sure that makes up for the loss of two parents in less than a year. Oy. We all need to take our vitamins and hug our kids.

      1. lisa74 says:

        Yeah, some are just dealt a terrible hand of cards and I still don’t understand why…I know two kids in my community whose father shot and killed their mother =(

  12. Jesus. These words took my breath away for so many reasons. It’s not fair that these kids, at such a young age, have to process the death of both parents. Like, I just can’t wrap my head around it. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. What a shock that must have been. I get annoyed that everyone has their faces buried in their phones these days, but, when your friends are far away, it is a godsend to be able to communicate so easily. The trail of words between the two of you is something to be treasured and will be the comfort you need as you move forward and heal. Thank god, for that. Big hug and lots of love. xoxo

    1. candidkay says:

      Yeah. What you said :-). Keep those kids in your good thoughts and prayers-they will be surrounded by love but when it’s not a mom’s or dad’s love, that makes it hard. Sweet of you to be so touched. Thank you.

  13. Very touching tribute to your friend Anne and the frailties of life. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for her children. Hopefully, they will get support from Anne’s tribe. And thank you for caring, sharing and being one of those who uplift others. Hugs to you K.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m praying for those kids every single darn day. And probably for the rest of their lives. Just doesn’t seem right. Thank you for your kind words.

      1. You’re welcome Kay. Thanks for caring so much.

  14. This touched a nerve and it filled something at the same time, as penned something recently… Wondering, who cheers for the cheerleaders? But, now I am inclined to think that it is love and it is obvious that this was the very element that governed your relationship with your friend.

    My prayers are yours.

    1. “I apologize for my typos”

    2. candidkay says:

      As I read that line in your blog tonight, I did wonder who cheers for the cheerleaders. And then I realized, if we’re very good and on our game, we cheer for each other :-). Thank you for the prayers.

  15. Thinking of you, your dear friend and her family. Let fond memories be your strength, compassion your guide.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks so much, Kathy. I am doing just that. Trying to be gentle with myself . . .

  16. Elaine Jacoby says:

    I’m so sad to hear about your friend. I feel like I know her through your words. You have referenced/written about her before. What a woman she was! What a friend you are! What beautiful words you wrote. Thank you for sharing what happened. I’m sending you a big hug.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Elaine. That’s really sweet of you. Keep her kids in your prayers. They are the ones my heart goes out to . . .

  17. I love how God sends us friends when we need them most. Only a few words from them make all the difference. I used to avoid intruding on people’s grief because I feared I’d say the wrong thing but realized in my own suffering that I didn’t care what friends said as long as I knew I had them. Lovely post, Kay.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I thought I was good at these seasons of change but each time, it’s still hard . . .

  18. Kate says:

    Hugs to you Kris! Its never easy to lose a close friend. I have been reflecting on a friend who I lost 13 years ago – her kids were 7 and 5. I too cherish the emails and notes I still keep of hers. I ministered to Laurie on Holy Thursday 2005 as Hospice was to come on the next Monday. Her husband was Baptized on Easter Sunday and she died on Easter Monday. She said she needed to hold on the hear his “splash”. Cancer sucks and even though the earthly battle is lost, I am confident that Anne will watch over her children, you and all those she loved. Happy Easter. May you be filled with the Easter Renewed Spirit as you grieve this loss and yet celebrate her life, which you have through this posting. ((Kris))

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you were able to help your friend in her time of need. And that you have memories (and the love, of course) to this day. I do believe the world needs more angels–and that some do more good in a form that is not so earth-bound. Happy Easter to you and your lovely family!

  19. Michele Bower Coppess says:

    Dear Kristine,
    I’m very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Anne. As always, thank you for your deeply personal and beautiful thoughts.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Michele. I so appreciate you reading and commenting.

  20. markbialczak says:

    I’m thinking of you here in New York, Kay, wishing to transfer whatever strength of spirit as you pass yours on to Ann’s needing knot of grieving loved ones even more miles away. So sad life can be.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much, Mark. I truly believe that what we sent to each other over the miles works :-).

  21. Deb says:

    I cried for Anne and her boys though I have never met them. If nothing else, texting, Facebook, email, etc let’s us know someone is listening and is with us in spirit so we are not completely alone….but I still yearn for that real live hug….I hope someone was there to give her one.

    1. candidkay says:

      I know she had an army of people who loved her. And that comes as no surprise, given the love she put out into the world.

  22. cristi says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss…it seems the universe keeps reminding me that life isn’t fair, and everyone has a bag of rocks they carry with them. Still, a senior in high school and an eighth grader, parentless? That’s not right. That makes my heart ache. I will pray for them. And I will pray for you this spring when everything old should be new again, but sometimes isn’t. My father died just after Easter. It is always a difficult time for me. Maybe I too should see a psychic? (something I have always wanted to do…I will keep you posted 🙂 Love to you and thanks for sharing this touching story! I am sending blessings and prayers and hugs…

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, it is so hard when those we love pass away near a holiday. I know that feeling. It’s hard to ever celebrate in the same way. Knowing who you show yourself to be, I am sure your father was a wonderful man. Please do keep me posted on the psychic :-). I know there are a lot of charlatans out there but there are plenty of true intuitives also!

  23. I’m so very sorry for your grief. Every time I hear about someone dying from cancer part of me is beyond sad that they never discovered energy healing, and yet I know there’s a much bigger picture I’m not privy to. Keeping the boys wrapped in love. They may never know it, but there’s an amazing amount of love and support that’s with them and will always be with them. Hugs to you during this time.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you re: energy healing, but I also think we each have exit points where we can leave this life. I have to believe this was Anne’s because she was fighting to stay for her kids. Just makes me so sad. Thanks for sending that love to her family!

      1. Yes. We do have potential exit points – more than one or two. And yes, I believe that no one goes without it being agreed upon at some level. Still hurts our human hearts. I know I’m preaching to the choir. ❤

  24. I hadn’t read this post when I replied on mine that there are ‘some’ rough bits Kristine, but this bit now is the one that hits the hardest, simply because of their love, worth and beauty in what they have shared for all those years.
    Your heart is full of tears, but also the love you shared with each other…that message will last forever ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes–the love remains. That I’ve learned. And I’m accruing an army of people who love me on the Other Side. What a welcome party that will be, when I’m ready:).

      1. When you finally do ‘touch’ that beautiful place Kristine, the incredible love and peace is beyond words…and you ‘know’ that everything is as it should be. Anne (and your army) now fully understand that, and are now barracking for you with all the love in the world to your finish line 😀 ❤

      2. candidkay says:

        And I’ll take any and all wisdom they can throw over the fence to me in the meantime :-).

      3. Amen to that 😀 ❤

  25. Judy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I still have emails from a dear friend who passed away nine years ago because of cancer. It’s a comfort even now to see them. God bless.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ve done the same! I thought I might be the only one:). It makes them more “real” somehow, when you can’t see or hear them anymore. I’m glad it brings you comfort–I’m sure that’s what any friend would want for you.

  26. I am discovering in life that as we face immortality, sickness and pain around us or in us, the best thing we can do is make sure we are receiving all the love, nurturing and peace we need. Because when I am in this place, you have much more opportunity to be in this place too and when I’m in this place, I have energy to give those around me, who have none. My thoughts and prayers are with Anne and you Kristine. 💕

    1. candidkay says:

      What a wonderful reciprocity there is in that statement. Thank you for sharing it:).

      1. And I meant mortality! Ha but I do wish we could live forever 💕

  27. I have no doubt that Anne will be in contact with you!

    1. candidkay says:

      She better be:). After she finishes the Welcome Home party.

  28. Della says:

    Anne was my dear friend and I had the fortune to be one of the “locals”. She led me to your blog, and I have to agree with her, some of your posts hit home and give me strength. I never knew a heart could hurt like this.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Della, I am sending you a hug through the ether. She was just one of the souls who touches you deeply–and not just with support in hard times, but with her ready laughter. I know you know this. It was so like her to share my blog–that’s really how my following has been built. Thank you fro commenting–and I’m so glad anything I’ve written has helped you through the hard times. Let’s toast to her when we feel we can–I know she would want us to keep the good going.

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