I'm going to attempt to find words…I've written and deleted this about 5 times. I was in Texas at a photo retreat when I got the call. Heather, my best friend, had been taken to the ER. They found a brain tumor and she was scheduled for emergency surgery to remove it. My heart stopped beating. My world was rocked, because Heather is my rock. We've been friends for well over a decade, and most of my best memories are with her. We've seen over 100 concerts together, traveled overseas, been on multiple road trips, cried through heart aches, celebrated new loves, moved to Seattle, completed two marathons and birthed two beautiful babies.
It's so hard not to ask "why" when something like this happens. Heather was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is very rare, especially for a female her age. Why her, this new mom who fought like hell to get her little Sofia? Why her, a pediatric oncology nurse who specializes in brain tumors? That right, she takes care of sick babies with cancer?!?! I still have no answers to those questions. What I have learned is despite being scared as shit, she has stood tall. She braved radiation, courageously shaved her head, graciously opened her heart and home to family and friends wanting to help and embraced this new life. All this while caring for a beyond adorable 6 month old.
I've never loved someone with cancer, not like this. I've seen that it can bring beautiful gifts and can be an ugly monster. It can be a reminder to cherish every moment, to hold those close a little tighter, to stop and breathe in the new blossoms of spring. It can also steal your energy, your hair and your days as you spend them in treatment. It comes with a suitcase full of emotion; compassion, fear, anger, gratitude, emptiness, courage, resentment, love and compassion.
Heather, my dearest beautiful ginger.
Thank you for letting me share in this journey with you.
Thank you for letting me hold a small part of it for you.
Thank you for showing me true courage.
And Thank you for letting me do the one thing I know how to do, honor you through my lens.
You are my rock, my person and I love you more than words...