When I met Lisa Kelly in late 2007 she was swearing. Justifiably furious about her ordeal with cancer diagnosis and treatment; disappointed in her level of medical care; afraid of what lie ahead; she thought she had beaten the disease but was raw from what she had been through.
Meanwhile, busy playing serene Frozen Pea princess, distracting myself with outreach, stupidly sure that I had a handle on what was happening with my own cancer and generally not understanding diddly squat, I made Lisa one of my favorite "adoptees".
Regardless of my cluelessness, Lisa took it in stride as I roped her into groups; recruited her for the Mothers With Cancer blog; and introduced her to "just one more thing" she didn't need to be taking on. She didn't swear at me even once. That alone had to take self control.
Over the past year we both had setbacks and surprises; ups and downs. As I struggled emotionally she showed amazing strength and will. Mother, wife, friend, truth teller and medical knowledge compendium, she battled when she could and gracefully accepted reality as cancer took its course. Through it all, she was one tough cookie.
Lisa lost her battle with cancer on Friday February 27, 2009 a little before midnight.
Somehow I imagine we'll get through the loss of the funny, smart, irreverent soul that was Lisa; perhaps by remembering the blessing that is her new freedom from pain.
In my struggle to accept the shortened lifespan I've been dealt, I'll do my best to let Lisa - who was young enough to be my daughter - guide me in putting it in perspective. No way can I ever hope to do it as well as she did.
And if she doesn't have a special place in heaven tonight there's something wrong with the system.