Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday and I Miss You

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Five and a half months ago a good friend of mine died and today would have been her birthday. Today should have been her birthday.

She was goofy. She didn't let me wimp out of getting a tattoo at a dodgy tattoo parlor in Japan. She could play piano and when she was a teenager she had the kind of hair that made a perfect poof. You know when you clip your hair up with a barrette? Her hair did that perfectly. We were brats in dance class and our teacher never did catch us red-handed. When I freaked out in university she brought me home and we had sleepovers until I felt better. She always seemed to call at the right time. She was a trooper and we traded clothes and sometimes she talked like a trucker and it just made you like her more. When we got older we saw each other about once a year and we'd get hammered on red wine and talk until we`d solved all the worlds` problems and our throats were sore. She stayed with me in my bridal suite the night before my wedding and we got ready together the next morning. After she was diagnosed it was like all of her vibrancy concentrated and she shimmered. She looked amazing in every single wig she owned and totally pulled off being bald. She had a fantastic smile. Everyone loved her. She is my definition of `brave.`

She's the reason I started this blog. I started it after she died. At her funeral we were all talking about her vigor and her passion for dance and the organization she co-founded. John and I were talking a few days later and we asked that weird question that always comes around sooner or later: What would they say at my funeral?

All I could think of was: Damn, that Shauna was ORGANIZED!

For reasons I hope are obvious I didn't think that was enough so I started to write here because I needed a space of my own to just, BE I guess. A place to figure out some shit. I haven't been able to really write about her directly until now, although some of the posts have been about her I guess (like this one, and this one).

I`m not sure how much I`ve figured out and I know I'm not changing the world just yet, but it feels good to be writing.

I don't usually feel angry anymore. The shock seems to have mostly worn off and I don't dream about her as much. I know more about the services available to people actively dying than I care to know. I know what it feels like for a close friend to die and I DID NOT WANT TO KNOW THAT.

Sometimes when I least expect it I`ll feel like I`ve fallen into a hole and the only way I can breathe is through tears. And then sometimes I`ll hear her say, `Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck,` and I`ll get a bit of a laugh. I think I`m always going to fall into that hole every now and then, I don`t think that when it hurts, it is ever going to hurt less.

I do however, know that I am going to continually smile more. I`m glad she helped convince my parents to let me move to Toronto after high school. I`m glad I got a chance to cat sit for her and entertain her brother when he came to visit and I`m glad that when she needed some help I could be there for her. Holy shit I miss her.

The pink card above was sitting on my chair at her funeral. Her aunt made them and there was one for every chair, plus extras because her service had so many people in attendance there weren`t enough seats. I have no idea who Kobi Yamada is/was, but I think it`s good advice:

Leave your comfort zone. Go stretch yourself for a good cause.

That sounds like a pretty good idea to me. And, right now I am going to pick up some organic red wine and raise a toast to a vivacious, brave, kind, fierce princess (that`s what she was known as,`fierce`as in `slammin`` or `spectacular`or what have you). And I am going to stop being so doom and gloomy. And I`m going to give my husband a hug and my dogs a belly rub... and then maybe have some more wine.

Love you, Miss Lovely.

F*ck cancer. Live life.

Editors note: I just wanted to write to say thank you all so very much for your support. It is so comforting to know you guys are out there. Thank you for being kind.

If you liked this post and you would like to share it, that would be super! Thank you so much!

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  1. 1) Search for Kobi on Amazon. I tried to post the link, but the Post A Comment box wouldn't accept the pasted link. Kobi's got a few BOOKS listed on, never mind, I'll DM it to you on twitter.

    2) I raised my glass to toast your friend tonight. May she rest in peace, and may you continue to find the strength to carry on. May you remember her through your thoughts, your writing, and your life. May the powers that be, kick cancer's Ass in the near-term.

  2. my mum passed away this summer from cancer - a brief but brave fight

    after she died I promised myself that I would also push my boundaries, go outside my comfort zone

    I think going on national television in my underwear counts, no?

    and agreed, FUCK cancer

  3. HUGS to you....

    Tomorrow will be 6 years that my dad passed, though not from cancer.

    I also agree, FUCK cancer!

  4. Thank you guys very much for your verve and your support. It really means a lot.

    I'm also very sorry for your loss- be kind to yourselves, hug your loved ones... & yeah, Underwear Television TOTALLY counts! :)

    Thanks again :)

  5. We did lose one of ower frends to cancer when she was very young and she also did say to peeple to make use of every minute of life and we do think bout her all the time and remember her lessons for us. We ave even forgiven her for bein a cat person. Woof.

  6. @marley- Thank you for sharing your story, I'm really sorry that you lost one of your friends. She sounded very wise.