Thursday, September 12, 2013

Instead




Because the ocean soothes
her soul, we'd planned
a trip to the sea.

But cancer had other plans.




And so, last weekend, 
instead of boarding an airplane, 
anticipating sunshine and
surf, I drove 400 miles to
visit my best friend,
preparing my heart for
a time that has come
much too soon.




Instead
of sitting on the beach,
I sat by Kathleen's hospital
bed, tucked neatly next
to the king-sized one she's
shared with her husband for
19 years.  The bed where she
nursed her babies, calmed
their bad dreams and cuddled 
with them during movies.




Instead
of sipping margaritas
while the sun dipped below
the horizon, I held a glass of
water with a straw to my
dear friend's lips.





Instead
of strolling the water's
edge, I was part of a caring
team of family and friends
that helped our sweet girl
take slow and deliberate steps
from bed to chair.





Instead
of laughing 'til we cried
over a silly story from the
past, I dabbed Kathleen's
tears as they slipped from her
beautiful eyes, and witnessed
how she positively glowed
when her children entered
the room.




But despite the sad moments,
we did, indeed, laugh, and
her indomitable spirit ~

her Kathleen-ness ~

still shone brilliantly.


It was a sacred time.




Our other bestie, Fiona, the
third musketeer, was by
her side as well, helping to
support our precious friend.

We held each other up, too.




Kathleen was sleeping as 
peacefully as a child
when it was time for me to
make my way home on
Sunday afternoon.

As Fiona and I each laid a
hand on the resting form of
our beloved pal, our eyes
locked in gratitude for the
blessing she has been to us.



Rather than the shuttered room
where she was sleeping, I imagined
Kathleen was dreaming of sunlight
on water, of gulls reeling and cawing 
overhead, of the pounding of surf 
and the gentle lapping of waves,

instead.


xo 
Suzanne


If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.

~Psalm 139:9-10



All images, my own.





40 comments:

Sandy at You May Be Wandering said...

Suzanne...this post just broke my heart. I am so sorry for what your dear friend is going through, but she is blessed to have you as her friend. What a beautiful and touching tribute to your friendship. Hugs to you during this difficult time. xoxo

Leslie Harris said...


This post made my heart hurt, especially hearing how your friend's face lit up when her children entered. As a mother I found that scene so painful. I'm so sorry to hear that cancer has taken a turn for the worst with your friend. This seems to be a time of letting go for you Suzanne. Sending your daughter off to college and now dealing so closely with death. Hang it there my friend. I remember the summer my eldest left for college and how both our beloved family pets coincidentally died before he left. Old age. And for awhile it felt like loss was everywhere I turned. I think in retrospect that period of grieving led me someplace deeper and made me grateful for the littlest things. Sending you compassion and hope,
xo
Leslie

ColorFormTexture said...

Words won’t fully express what I want to convey, but just know that I give thanks because of you. What a priceless gift is your love and your perspectives, which you’ve shared freely across the years. Through you, we feel we know Kathleen though we’ve never met her. You’ve let us see her through your eyes. Prayers for all of Kathleen’s team and for you.

Sue said...

Beautiful words to share your beautiful friendship. It is a heartbreaking time for you and for Kathleen's family. I thank you for sharing your friend with us.

Down Raspberry Lane said...

Someone told me once that it is a privilege to be with someone as they travel their last journey. Your friend has been a blessing to your life, and you to hers. My heart goes out to you and to her, and to all of her loved ones. - Cheryl

Dianna said...

What a beautiful post. I'm so sorry to learn of your dear friend's cancer. I'm glad you were able to spend some time with her over the weekend.

(((hugs)))

Prince Snow Farm said...

Oh I am choking on tears Suzanne. How unfair life can be....yet how right and soothing that you were there to help your friend on this journey. I am sure your heart is aching, yet you were able to gather the shared laughter and locked it away for a special time.

Dewena Callis said...

This is a heartbreaking post but beautifully written from the heart, revealing the beautiful spirit of three friends who are there for each other through everything and beyond. I feel privileged to have been able to read this, to be able to share a tiny bit in it.

God bless you all.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Oh man this kills me. I'm so sorry friend.

Low Tide High Style said...

Suzanne, I'm so sorry that your trip to the ocean with Kathleen couldn't become a reality. I know how much she means to you, and I'm certain your being there with her means more than you know. Thinking of you both!

xo Kat

Beth said...

Oh my goodness Suzanne, you write so beautifully... This is a heartbreaking post and I have the biggest lump in my throat and blurry eyes just imagining your drive to spend those precious moments with your friend. I'm so, so sorry. You will have such lovely memories of this friendship and I hope that they help you through this challenging time.
Take care, thinking of you and Kathleen and her family.
x

susan@avintagefarmwife said...

I am fighting back tears and thinking of my sweet, sweet best friend. We have let way too much time pass since we have checked in with one another. This post reminds me not to take our life long friendship for granted. Thank you.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I have prayed for your sweet friend, and am so sorry to hear that she is in her last days. It is sacred, indeed, that you were able to be with her and Fiona.

Sending love and prayers from Chicago,
Glenda

Jo said...

I can only imagine what a beautiful friendship the three of you have. What a blessing to share the growth of your lives together and to be there when the need is so great. I'm so sorry your sweet friend is so ill. Your mention of how she lights up when her children enter the room just breaks my heart.

Thinking of you and praying for you both!

JO

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Last Sept, my BFA lost her battle with cancer and I was able to spend a few days with her before she went to Heaven! Our experiences share many of the same things and I had tears in my eyes reading this post. I'm thankful for memories, photos, cards and gifts that she had given me during our years of friendship!
I feel your sadness...
deb

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

tears. i'm so sorry. this is beautifully written.

LisaAR said...

Suzanne, this is a beautiful piece written about a very beautiful person.

You stopped by my blog and left a kind comment, so I checked out your blog here. Now I'm trying to understand the thread that connects us, as Kathleen is a dear friend to me. We don't have the history and intimacy that you share, for sure, but from the day I met her, I knew she was special, and since then, our friendship has grown. Please help me understand the kismet that is at play here!

And thank you for being such a good friend to someone I care a great deal for.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

There are no original words to share here on my part....too many clich├ęs come to mind, so I won't comment in that fashion. INSTEAD, I will only pray that when it is my time, that I will have such friends by my side. If not, I pray that I will have the courage to take the journey of my life to Jesus Christ, who waits for all of us who believe. LOVE TO YOU my dear Suzanne. Much love. Anita

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Oh, Suzanne. You always have such poignant posts. My heart aches for you, Kathleen, her friends and family.

I was thinking about you yesterday - I was at Hampton Ct and haven't been there since our outing almost a year ago. My how time flies! It was such a pleasure to meet you. Thinking of you, xoL

SHERRY HART said...

So so sorry about Kathleen. I can't imagine how hard that was......I somehow thought she was in remission.

Shelly W. said...

Oh Suzanne, this is absolutely beautiful. Your love for your friend comes through in every well-chosen word. You did the right thing, and it was a blessing to Kathleen, I'm sure. May you also be blessed by your time with her.

Sending love and hugs to you.

Leslie said...

Suzanne.. may your dear friend rest now and may you all be at peace. Sending prayers your way.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Oh Suzanne...I know your spirit is hurting...you have been blessed with such a wonderful friendship. Kathleen sounds like a wonderful woman, and I cannot begin to imagine how hard this is for all who know her. I am sending love your way, my friend, and prayers for comfort...XO

Joanna said...

Powerful writing, written from the heart.

Sending love,

<3

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Dear friend, I am so sorry for what Kathleen is going through right now. And for what you as her friend must be going through. My heart is so heavy as I read your poignant words, words that remind us all of just how fragile life is, and how fleeting. You are both so blessed to have each other. Just know that you have a prayer warrior here in Illinois.

Sylvia said...

I just want to hug you, dear friend...No friendship is an accident! I am thinking of you both.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Suzanne, I have been thinking about you and your friend Kathleen. Life is so unfair. My heart is broken thinking your your beautiful Kathleen and her children, family and husband. There are no words to offer comfort, or solace.

I hope as Anita said that when it is my time to go that I am surrounded by my best friends and family offering love, a hand to hold a shoulder to cry on and a a prayer to send me off to me God.

My thoughts are with you and your friend as our my prayers.

Take care of yourself and know that there are many out here who have never met you that are thinking of you and sending you love, prayers and comfort...the same that we take from her each time one of your beautiful posts pop up in our in-box.

Much love to you, Elizabeth

kerrie of sea cottage said...

This is so beautiful...the photos with your words. My best friends nene is Kathleen also. We became friends in second grade. The scripture you end this post with is so perfect. Hugs to you at this time

lisaroyhandbags said...

What a beautiful post. Having you and Fiona there meant more than any beach vacation ever could. I can only hope to have such love surrounding me when my time comes. Big hugs xo

Rambling Tart said...

I'm so deeply sorry to hear of your friends suffering. XOXO And of your pain in knowing you will lose her physical self soon. I'm so glad you three musketeers could be together one last time and cherish each other so beautifully. Wishing you deep comfort and peace. XO

patty said...

my thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet friends this evening. and for some time.
xo

Hartwood Roses said...

Hugs to you, for caring for your friend ... thick and thin ... with love.

Jemsmom said...

Hello sweet Suzanne! I have been such a bad blogger and am just reading all your posts. I am so sorry to hear about Kathleen. I know how much she means to you and your relationship is such a special one. I pray for peace and comfort for all of you.

Tiffini said...

i am beyond sad...i just finished the book by carol kent..laying down my isaac and it reminds me so of your words for some reason
praying His arms of love are so palpable to you and your kathleen and all of her family and friends. loving you from afar...xo

Just a little something from Judy said...

This is one of the best pieces I have ever read! Your words and your heart drew me right in. So lovingly, so powerfully, and so gracefully, you shared it all. Kathleen is so blessed to have you in her life, as well as all you continue to learn from her. Psalms 139 is one of my very favorite chapters. Thank you for inspiring my heart tonight.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Suzanne, I mentioned your blog and this post on my blog today. Truthfully, I feel it needs to be shared because of how beautifully and meaningfully it was written. There are many going through cancer with loved ones and I felt this may help them in one way or another.

lindsey said...

I have just visited your blog from Judy's and she is right your thoughtful and Spirit filled words do need to be shared? I recently sat with my mother while she passed from this world into the arms of her Heavenly Father and to be able to share these last moments with someone is truly a privilege. For your friend to know your closeness will have been a blessing to her too.

Palomasea said...

Writing through tears, dearest Suzanne. I am so very sorry about your precious friend...prayers to her and her dear family.
You are all blessed to have each other's love..
A tight hug to you.
- Irina

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Oh Suzanne. Your words and photos are such a beautiful way to honor this sad but special time. Thinking of you and Kathleen's family. xo

Maria at inredningsvis said...

WOW you always show SO great pics:) LOVE IT

I hope you come back and visit my blog soon:)

have a wonderful weekend dear

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)