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Wendy

by - Monday, February 01, 2010

My friend Willow (Wendy was her real name) passed away yesterday after a 5 year battle with cancer. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that Wendy was one of those people you encounter only once in a lifetime. She was and is a huge inspiration to everyone who met her. I have never met anyone who was so strong and positive in the face of enormous suffering. Beneath my deep sadness, I am happy that now Wendy is now free of pain. The last time I saw her, she spent over an hour just playing on the floor with Chloe, laughing and giggling, playing peek-a-boo, making silly faces. How much energy and happiness they gave one another! In those moments I saw the circle of life, there in my house, in the glow of the afternoon sun.


Two years ago, just before Wendy started her next round of chemo treatments, she decided to cut off all her hair. She wanted to donate her long locks before the drugs made her hair thin and fall out in patches. That was Wendy, always thinking of how to help others even when she had little to give. So in my empty kitchen, before my new cabinets were installed, Wendy sat in a chair and let me cut her hair. I had never cut anyone's hair before so I was nervous, not wanting to nip her or ruin the hair donation! It was difficult for both of us, but we got through, the sound of our tears and our laughter bouncing off the walls of that big empty room.


Someday soon, I will probably be in the kitchen again, with Chloe in a high chair waiting for me to cut her hair. And I will think back to that day with Wendy and I will tell Chloe the story of her Aunty that left this world too soon.


I've spent the better part of the last day looking at old photographs and reading old emails. In one, Wendy had quoted something I once said to her: "God created our life as a package. We cannot pick and choose only to go through the good and happy times, but we have to live the bad and unhappy moments, to experience life as a whole. We need to embrace life, good and bad and live it to its fullest. I believe only through that, can we truly know what life is all about." And she did. She lived a full life. She embraced her cancer and used it as motivation to tell her family and friends how much she loved them every day; to volunteer her accounting skills to nonprofit organizations when she no longer had the energy to work a full-time job; to ride 200km in two days to support cancer research; to be positive and optimistic and talk of the future and be an inspiration for others in their own battles; to epitomize strength and love and caring; and to truly take this gift given by God, this one life, and eke every last moment out of it.

Thank you Wendy for walking through my life. I can't wait to see you again someday.

Rest now, Wendy. xoxo.



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31 comments

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It was a beautiful and moving tribute you wrote to and for her and I was very touched by your words. I hope you find some peace as your grieve your loss.

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  2. I am so sorry you lost your dear friend , I hope she rests in peace with angels.

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  3. Sorry for your loss you are lucky to have had such a wonderful friend.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I am writing through tears... what can I say, what can anyone say when we hear about loss...I think what you wrote was just lovely, your friend's memory will live on in your words and thoughts, that as you said you will someday share with Chloe.

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  5. What a beautiful post for someone who sounds incredibly special and inspirational. I'm sure she touched many lives...I hope she's at peace now and free from pain. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and her family.

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  6. How heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. She seemed truly beautiful in every sense of the word.

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  7. Friends like that are a rare find - you were so lucky to have known her. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  8. What a sincere post and a subtle reminder to live and love fully.

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  9. I am so so sorry =(
    What an honor it must be to have known her ((hugs))

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  10. This is a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. So glad you have those memories (and beautiful) photos to remember her by. Based on this post along, she sounds like she was quite a woman.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

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  11. Oh my dear, my dear, my dear. I'm so very sorry for your loss of sucha wonderful life and friend.

    This is a beautiful tribute to her.

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  12. So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend--what a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul! Thoughts and prayers with you.

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  13. Thank you all for your kind thoughts. My words capture only the littlest bit of Wendy's essence. She truly was special.

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  14. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. What a beautiful, moving tribute to her life.

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  15. Reading this post made me sad and happy all at the same time. I know how it feels to meet someone so incredible and strong in the face of a malicious disease. I'm so sorry for your loss - but at the same time so happy that Wendy was a part of your life. She sounds like an incredible woman!

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  16. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Thank you for sharing your loss with us in a beautiful tribute to your friend.

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  17. Carolyn12:56 PM

    You were lucky to have known each other. Thanks for the beautiful words. Sorry about the loss of your good friend.

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  18. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Wanderluster, I too am sorry about your friend's suffering and her passing. I hope you are doing okay. Your words were extremely moving.

    jbhat

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  19. Wendy sounds like she was a true true friend to you. The two of you are so lucky to have shared such a special friendship. I'm praying for peace for you during this time of loss.

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  20. Beautiful words and photos.. so sorry to hear of your friend's passing.

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  21. This post hit so close to home. One of my dearest friends is battling multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma from which there is no cure, only management. I don't know how long she will be here and I treasure every day. My thoughts and prayers go to you and her family. What precious pictures of her with Chloe.

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  22. So sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend Wendy. Wishing you peace in the weeks and months ahead. Take care.

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  23. I am so sorry, my dear. The world needs more Willows. The lives she touched will always be a testament to the brief but significant time she spent here on this earth.

    Thinking of you.

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  24. I am touched by all your comments. Thank you all for your support.

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  25. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I'm sure you were a great source of comfort to her. Your last photo is very touching.

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  26. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I can tell from her eyes and smile she was just as wonderful as you said she was. We should all be as blessed to have a friend like Willow.

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  27. I am so sorry for your loss. Her beauty shines through your photos.

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  28. Wendy sounds like a wonderful person who was an inspiration to appreciate the life we have and face this horrible disease with courage. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

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  29. I'm so sincerely sorry to hear about your loss.

    Kelly

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  30. I am truly touched by your generous tribute to your loving friend. Thanks so much for sharing a piece of her life, and of your friendship.

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  31. I'm so sorry for your loss. Wishing you peace as you remember the good times with Winnie.

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