The news called her “an Internet sensation” but to me, she was just my friend.
For 3 days I have wanted to write about Elizabeth, and for 3 days I have had nothing to show you but one line, written above. I keep coming back to this post and staring at it. How can I put into words a person so wonderful, so full of life, and whose absence affected me more than I even thought it would?
The truth is, I can’t put it into words. She fought a brilliant battle against breast cancer, and she lost at age 38. And she never gave up, not even at the end. She called bed rest a waste of time, as she had things to do, people. She was still making plans for her future, and when I think about those plans that won’t happen, I start to cry. And I wish I knew what those plans were so I could do one of them in her honor or something, anything, to pay my respects to such an amazing person.
She wasn’t my best friend. She wasn’t even one of my closest friends.
Wait, that is not true. She was one of everyone’s closest friends. You couldn’t meet her and not feel a connection to her; that’s how wonderful she was.
A quote on her facebook page reads, “Hope is the only antidote to fear.” (Lance Armstrong) She had hope, even at the very end.
When she died it never once occurred to me that she might be “in a better place” or “suffering no more.” Am I that selfish? Or is it that her smile and her charm and her wit were so bright that it never seemed to me that she was suffering?
What I do know is that one day if I leave a legacy half the size of hers, I will have led a wonderful life, indeed.
I wrote a blog post on Christmas Eve. It was inspired by this photo of a dog who sought shelter in baby Jesus’ arms in a manger:
I wrote something deep and profound (haha, I’m sure) about how I hope everyone finds the shelter and comfort they seek this holiday season. And I added something to the effect of “especially you, Elizabeth.”
But I didn’t publish the blog because I was writing it as we were driving up to the mountains and I lost signal for two days and when I got back it was the day after Christmas so it wasn’t timely anymore.
And I thought about just sending it to her directly but it wasn’t like I’d written anything special; I had just wanted her to know I was thinking about her.
And then she died and I realized that she will never see that blog and I wished I’d published it, even if it was the day after Christmas.
She started a Facebook running page. It was called “Elizabeth’s ‘on the road to recovery’ running friends. Her first post stated, “Ok seeing as I’m the only one here at the moment.. it makes sense that I start!! Before this year, my half marathon time was 1:58:02, 10 mile time was 1:39:15 and 10K time was 53:46. I am currently unable to run more than a couple of minutes without having to stop and walk. Therefore I am following the “walk to run” programme that I saw in May’s edition of Zest Magazine. I shall post the weekly programme in the discussion section on here in case anyone wants to join me!”
And subsequently, we all posted running goals and accomplishments and then she would give us encouragement and support. She did this for us. She was the one that was sick yet she was the one supporting us.
Her quote on the page read, “Why walk when you can run?” That’s how she lived her life, it seems. Full speed ahead – never walking, always running.
She told me once I was an amazing lady. Another time she downloaded an iPhone app to virtually watch me run a marathon from the other side of the world. She was so beautiful and kind and supportive, all the time. And I didn’t realize quite how much I’m going to miss that charming smile and sweet words and considerate nature. But I miss her already.
“How I Met Your Mother” made a big deal this week about someone’s last words and how important or not important they are.
The last words Elizabeth said to me were in response to the blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. They were “Melissa…… What can I say? Reading this brought tears to my eyes. ‘Thank you for thinking of me’ seems too small a thing to say for such a HUGE rally of support! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! E xxx”
The last words I said to her were “Sending sunshine and happy thoughts your way today.” The next day, she died.
I didn’t know how to get these words out until I read this blog post about just sitting down and writing and not planning it out and not overthinking it and just writing. It was only after reading that, that I was able to write this. So finally, I have more than one line to share with you about a person whose presence cannot be described with words, but with emotion and spirit and joy.
So thank you, Diary of a Mad Woman, for that blog post. Thank you for helping me to say goodbye.