I have gone back and forth for weeks debating whether or not to write this post. Although I thoroughly enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts through this blog, I am a very private person when it comes to those I hold closest to me. Recently I have decided that I need to start expressing my feelings and all of the pent up frustrations I have regarding a very dear friend of mine who has been fighting a most courageous battle. For privacy's sake, I will not disclose any names or in-depth details, but for those of you who know me personally, I'm sure you will put the pieces together on your own.
This beautiful lady and I have been friends for nearly a decade and, for many of those years, we spent nearly every day together. We were privileged to find each other when we needed each other the most. We were both young, in college, and looking for our purpose in life. But mostly, we just wanted to have fun and enjoy our youth while it lasted. She is one of the most genuine, caring, loving, selfless individuals that I have ever known, and I cannot even begin to count the times that she has been there for me when no one else was. We have shared laughter, tears, and some of the most random and memorable nights that I will never forget. If anyone has helped define the woman I am today, it is her.
So you can imagine the complete and utter shock that occurred whenever I learned that this friend of mine was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. The world spun in circles as I tried to grasp the thought of my perfectly healthy, happy friend being infected with this life-threatening disease. A list of questions a mile long ran through my mind, but the only one I could focus on was: why?!
Shortly after diagnosis, my friend underwent surgery and then began radiation and chemo treatments. An MRI the following year was hopeful as it suggested that the tumor had stopped spreading. We were positive that she was going to beat this thing. After all, no one is stronger (or more stubborn) than our girl!
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was sitting at my mom's house watching my sweet daughter laughing and playing on the floor, when my phone rang. I looked down to see my friend's mother calling. I knew right away this would not be good news. The tumor had multiplied and spread. Treatment was no longer working. Hospice was being called to make her comfortable. It was uncertain as to how much longer she would live.
I knew I needed to see my friend.
At present day, she is still with us, and she still retains her undeniable whit and charm. She smiles every time Taylor and I walk through her front door, and she puts on a brave face even though I know she is hurting. It pains me to see my friend suffer. It pains me to watch her lie there unable to control her body, but it helps to know that mentally she is still intact. I pray for her daily. I ask God to end her suffering, to bring her peace, and to let her know how loved she is by us all. But still, my heart aches. I miss my friend, and I am sad for the future that she may likely never have. But I will always have our memories, and I will always keep her in my heart. I will always be thankful for everything she has taught me - and continues to teach me - even now.