To Love and to Be Loved

I most certainly am not a numbers person, and I have the math grades to prove it.  Words are my jam, which is why it surprised me that as I thought about today being the fourth anniversary of my beautiful friend’s death, numbers, not words, initially took center stage.

34 years of friendship.  4 years of high school together. 4 years of college together. 4 1/2 years that Michelle battled breast cancer.  4 years since she passed away.

As these numbers intermingled with memories of Michelle, one number got my undivided attention. 4 1/2.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Michelle was 4 years into her battle and was entering the final stage.  Despite everything she was dealing with, she was with me every step of the way, as I began my own journey.

So, it struck me that as of this date, it has been a little more than 4 1/2 years since my own diagnosis.  It is a surreal experience to outlive a friend who shares a similar diagnosis, and it comes with residual survivor’s guilt, anxiety, and grief.  Thanks to Michelle, though, it also comes with much more.

The David Bowie quote at the top of this page adorned the cover of Michelle’s funeral Mass program. It was the first time I could recall seeing it, and it summed up so perfectly what Michelle accomplished in her 47 years of life. Love is one of the first words that I think of when I think of her. She loved her family and friends fiercely, and she allowed us to love her right back. In both life and death, my sweet friend has taught me how to love and be loved wholly and unconditionally. In today’s chaotic world, this lesson in love is one we all need to learn and master.

Love never dies, and as I shed both tears of sorrow and joy, I feel her love surround me. I miss Michelle every day and always will. I love you, sweet girl. Oh, and Go Big Blue!!!

That’s another story. . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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