I grew up with my friend Shannon and her wonderful family (our parents are old college buddies). I'm flooded with memories from those years. Shannon's kitten Smoky, her incredibly long legs, how we and our sisters would dress up in tutus to play pretend, watch library VHS videos of old musicals, have sleepovers, birthday parties, swim at the Lewis & Clark pool, share a tent on our annual joint-family camping trips...
As we grew older we would go months without seeing each other due to college and distance, but when we were back in the same room it was if no time had passed at all. Shannon was energetic, strong-willed, funny, generous and kind. 4 years ago I danced and cried at her beautiful wedding on her parents' farm. Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and naturally we were all shocked and grief-stricken, but believed and prayed and hoped that it could be beat. In October we gathered to celebrate her and the cancer's remission.
But in defiance of every wish and prayer and hope the cancer returned and spread. Tonight she passed away with her family and husband at her side. I cannot fathom...any of it. Not the loss in my life, her friends' lives, her family's, nor her husband's, who cared for her so tenderly and faithfully. I'm so angry that she was robbed of a long life. Of children, of growing old with her husband and sisters and brothers, of seeing and tasting and hearing and touching and being in this world. I'm angry for the students who've been robbed of having her as their teacher. I'm angry for her family and loved ones have been robbed of her physical presence and voice and spirit. I'm angry I've been robbed of her. That the world has been robbed of her.
I'm angry that her strong, healthy, beautiful body had to be ravaged and tested and defeated so brutally and mercilessly. I'm angry that our prayers weren't answered, our ardent hopes weren't fulfilled, our dreams dismissed--that our positive energy and love and encouragement were not enough to eradicate that fucking cancer. I'm relieved that her suffering has ended, and I believe her body has been restored to all its health and strength and beauty. I believe she is at peace. But I am mad with grief and sorrow and anger. Shannon was so special, and will be so, so missed.