Life, Love, Loss
I am sure I am not alone in having that gut-wrenching, heart-stopping moment on Facebook, when this appeared on my timeline a few days ago.
The stark reality is that Carolyn will never again experience another birthday for she died a few weeks before what would have been her 55th birthday.
In honor of her birthday I would like to share her final post which she published on her blog in April 2014.
Life lived is at once a seemingly never-ending horizon of what can be, a translucent bowl of swirling once was.
Every moment lived, life. Every life, a vast network of connections through experience, a hope for compassion and understanding.
To claim a singular emotion at a determined point in time as being the specific mandate of our journey would be futile. For every opportunity realized, the multilayered essence of life, non-specific to one thought, non-linear to expression, seems impossible to contain.
Life is at once beautiful, intense, joyful, tragic, gutting. Life is poignant, pathetic, depressing, inspiring, revered. Life is heart-rending and heartfelt… infinite vessels of our humanity contain each desire to embrace, to reach further, to hold on, to soar.
As life unfurls, our definitive central node remains elusive. Contemplation is the everlasting transformation of light dancing behind eyelids reverie. Petals of forever gently falling away to new possibilities.
Life is the motion, the forward-thinking continually evolving hope and dream. Life is not where you once lived, for that is memory. Life is not where you end up, for that is death, and in death, life ceases to be.
As we grieve Carolyn’s death, and the deaths of all those we’ve loved and lost to cancer, let’s take heed of Debra’s words:
Every time we experience these terrible losses, it serves as a stark, powerful reminder of why we became advocates in the first place. As cancer patients and advocates, we are the ones who bring a critical sense of urgency to identifying the cancer research questions that truly matter, that will have the most impact, that will ultimately lead to more cures. By working to support one another and to transform our grief into remembrance and renewed commitment to our advocacy efforts, perhaps that is the most appropriate, necessary, and powerful way to honor all of those we have lost.
Love to you, Marie. Carolyn’s memorial gathering took place on her birthday this year, as it happens, in Calgary. There are too many birthday notices now on Facebook for friends we have lost. Every time one comes up, my heart contracts. Honestly, I’ve lost count. 😦
Me too Kathi. Thanks for letting us know about the birthday memorial for Carolyn x
Thank you, Marie. Our hearts ache. Again. xx
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Again Nancy 😦
This is beautiful and my heart goes out to you xx
Holley Kitchen died this week too… Although she did not blog she created a legacy via Facebook with her video which went viral about MBC http://youtu.be/-mztliwYyLs She is another mother lost to BC leaving two boys under five years old, her husband, friends and family. There are far to many of these loses…..
I’m so sorry, Marie. Receiving these FB birthday announcements for those we’ve lost is truly heartwrenching, and if I allow myself to think about just how many of my friends are now gone, my heart may break once and for all. Sending you much comfort, love, and friendship,
Marie, when we click into face book and see birhtday reminders of our dear friends that have passed it rocks our world again and again. It is hard for anyone else to understand how it effects us especially if these friends were our rock and they seemed to understand where we are coming from. We see their smiling faces staring out at us and we are broken hearted. But then there are times through the year we will think about them and feel the same emptyness. its hard, very hard. As u know the tratration in Ireland is to have a wake where we go to the houses of thoase have past away and offer our condolances and support. I now have stopped going if the person has died with cancer. Its just too hard the same as face book birthday reminders. Take care Marie.
I just found this post, and I have a question to ask. One I’ve grappled with for some time. A new perspective may help. I have considered removing Carolyn’s birth date from her FB profile. It is definitely jarring for it to pop up, maybe for me most, and maybe I’m being selfish in my idea to take it down. I wonder what you think.
Hi Julie, so nice to hear from you. You’ve given this a lot of thought and I understand your dilemma. I have my own thoughts around this topic but with your permission, I’d like to open it up to the wider community to have them share their thoughts. Would that be ok? It speaks to the whole topic of digital legacy which we as a community are also grappling with. Thank you for raising this with us. Marie x
Hi, Marie. Yes, that would definitely be ok. I’ve other friends who are wondering the same thing, and others who are shook up by the birthday reminders. Though I know some people who appreciate seeing them. Thank you.
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