Friday, September 27, 2013

The Sweetness

In April, when my bestie 
and I celebrated our birthdays
together, we shared a hotel
room in downtown Chicago
with our other best friend Fiona,
just off the hustle and bustle
of State Street.

Spending two nights in this kind 
of proximity was a luxury for us, 
since my home is in a different state.  

And, besides laughter, it also 
encouraged all kinds of other 
sharing, like magazines, beauty
products, candy and stories.

Good stuff.

One of the things that Kathleen
introduced me to was an aluminum-
free deodorant with a funny name.
(Her oncologist advised steering
away from aluminum as there have
been possible links between it and
breast cancer.)

The name of the deodorant
Life Stinks.

At the time, we chuckled at that.
Because life is smelly and messy
and wonderful and 

But here's the thing.

It doesn't stink.

Kathleen would be the first
to tell you that.

Life is beautiful.

We see animals, every day,
scurrying from perceived danger
to protect their most precious
 possession ~ life.  

It's a powerful instinct.  Even the
most basic creature will do what
it can to guard itself from harm
in order to continue living.

Humans, too, will endure pain, 
suffering and whatever treatments
are necessary, seeking to cure
disease and stay alive.

As I grieve the death of my 
lovely friend, who lost her battle 
with cancer last week, I remind myself 
of her strong will to keep living.

She fought to the end.

Kathleen was one of those people
who savored the little things in
life as much as the big moments.  

{Celebrating life:  Fiona, Kathleen, Suzanne}

Today as I walked with the warm 
autumn sunshine on my face,
I thought of her and how she 
particularly relished this season.

When I hugged my son before school, 
I remembered how Kath delighted in
hugging her own affectionate boy.

As I sniffed my little bag of lavender
before bed last night, I smiled as I
recalled her love for anything with
this distinct scent.

Life is sweet as well as stinky.

But it is the sweetness
that prevails.

And comforts.


Thank you all for the
oh-so-kind comments,
emails and Instagram
notes over the last few
weeks as I walked the
last miles of my dear
friend's life with her.

Every one of you
adds to the sweetness,
and I am forever

all photos my own


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I do not want to be trite, so I will not say what first came to my mind. But you are a "believer" - or at least your stunning life and behavior tells me so.

Therefore, let us smile at what was had, what is still in your heart, and what will always be.

Hugs dear friend. Anita

Leslie said...

There's a song.. Ya don't know what ya got till it's gone. Appreciation for LIFE.. the fun times, the trying times, the crazy days when you're trying to juggle the kids, their schedules, cleaning bathrooms. This really does put things in perspective doesn't it?


Joanna said...

Remembering the special things about Kathleen is surely the sweetest way to keep the wonderful spirit of your friend alive.

My heart goes out to you, her family and her friends.

Sending love,


ColorFormTexture said...

As we mourn with you the loss of Kathleen, we can also rejoice with you for the poignant reminder of what it is to really live while we can. Her life is a gift to you and through you, a gift to us. Thank you for your giving and loving and sharing spirit. Sweetness indeed!

Shelly W. said...

Oh Suzanne, I am so, so sorry for the lost of your beautiful friend. You have honored her so well.


Deepest sympathy..

Down Raspberry Lane said...

Many hugs,

Dewena Callis said...

It is so very sweet and we can't be reminded enough of that. I'm very sure that your friend's life will always remind you of that.

Hindsfeet said...

Oh Suzanne, this hit such a deep deep nerve reading about your loss.....still crying.....I'm so sorry my dear.....I'm so so sorry......

much love for you right now....
would hug your neck and cry with you if I could.....

I wish you peace, Suzanne, and thank you, as always, for the enduring beauty you bring to my life....


Dianna said...

Dear Suzanne,
You are an incredible blessing the way you view life. I sincerely hope you know that your perspective encourages others, even as you yourself are grieving the loss of a precious friend. You and I have a common friend (common only in the fact that we both know and love her because she is anything but common in her zeal for life) that is also fighting the battle~ Julie over at Life is What You Make of It. May our prayers for her and sweet words encourage her to continue on! You are in my prayers...and thank you for your sweet note you left for me.

michele said...

psalm 139. yes. all of this heartbreak is unfathomable. what a blessing it must have been to see the faces of her friends. my mom's brca is very aggressive and pushing her to the limits of human endurance. we will never be the same. thank God, we won't. because this burning and refining is preparing us. strengthening and weakening us to be better used and ultimately used up. i pray for peace in your heart, suzanne.


Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I love how you have loved your best friend through this, and I'm so sorry for your loss of her….although I'm sure you're with me in being glad that she is at peace….no longer battling. What a special friend Kathleen had in you; may we all be so lucky to have friendships like you had. Sending lots of love to you tonight Suzanne. xxooooo

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Katherine said...

I was so sorry to hear your news of your friend losing her battle with cancer. My bestie has also been fighting the same battle. Fortunately for her (& me) she is through the worst and coming out the other side. I love your words today and how you are thinking of your dear friend in such a positive way. Sending good wishes to you xx

patty said...

so sorry for your loss suzanne, and for her son's. you are a beautiful friend and i love how you have honored kathleen here. love to you.xo

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

How lovely, absolutely lovely to see your comment dear Suzanne. And you will love her for the rest of your life, and this I have learned...when someone leaves before we do, we carry with us their ESSENCE....and nothing, not even death can strip that away. THANK GOD!

Much love, Anita

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is such a lovely tribute to beautiful Kathleen and her love of life. Thank you for sharing your sweet friend with us. I know you will keep her close in your heart forever...and she will always inspire you to live life to the fullest...XOXO

Rambling Tart said...

What a beautiful friend you had. :-) I love her face, her beamy smile. You can see the love there. I'm so glad you got to be part of her heart for so many years. Wishing you deep comfort and many, many happy memories every time you think of her. XO

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Suzanne. So glad that you had that special time with Kathleen. I find myself thinking of the "specifics" of her friendship without even trying. They just pop into my head and, more often than not, make me smile. What a blessing.

You are in my prayers for comfort, my new friend.

Tiffini said...

i'm so happy you stopped by
YOU have been on my heart. i can't read your words without tears.
it is just the way i am wired. i feel some of you sadness in my bones
and oh how i wish i were there to give you a hug
i do
you inspire me too! all that glitters will forever be one of my words...i love you my MN friend. when i come up this summer we have got to make a date ok?

Leslie Harris said...

You're so right. In the end, it is the sweetness that prevails. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Melissa said...

I can imagine the giggles you had over "Life Stinks"!
That's brilliant!
How blessed were you to share your lives, and how many endless memories will you forever have ready...your go-to when you need her with you.

M xxx

Palomasea said...

I send you a tight hug, dear Suzanne....
Really, there are no "right" words at this time.
This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful friend.

Love and peace to you,
- Irina

pretty pink tulips said...

I'm sorry I haven't been by for a while. But, today I just felt drawn to check in and see what was happening in your life. So, it is with great sorrow that I now know that you have had to say good bye to Kathleen and that you have been by her side during these past few weeks.

I recall when you shared with us about her illness. I have thought about her, your friend whom I did not know. And, today, I mourn your loss and that of Kathleen's other friends and family.

With heartfelt love,

lisaroyhandbags said...

I wish I could just hug you right now. So sorry to hear that you had to say goodbye. She was truly blessed to have a wonderful friend like you to love her and be with her right to the end. keep thinking sweet thoughts xo

Bonnie said...

Your tribute was beautiful and inspiring to us all. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your memories of your beautiful friend.

Chris said...

Hi Suzanne, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Jane said...

Oh Suzanne, my gorgeous faraway friend. After being absent from Blogland for a long time, I return to find this. I am immensely sad for your loss. What a blessing the three of you were able to spend that precious time together.

When my Dad died, a dear friend sent me 'Eternity' by William Blake. I found it of immense comfort. Maybe you know it.

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies by
Lives in eternity's sunrise.

All my love J x

Mary Timmers said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Suzanne. But the "gain" you will always have is the love you and Kathleen had for each other and the sweet memories you will always carry. Still, I am sad for you.


Deborah said...

Suzanne this is just beautiful beyond words.
I thank God for the precious friendship you and your dear friend shared...what a gift!
One thing I that He brings beauty from the ashes.
He just does...
All my love to you
sweet friend xo

All my heart,
Deborah xoxo