From strength and love an angel is born

I have a friend. (Surprising, I know. Hear me out, though.)
This post is a letter to that friend, who is someone I wish all of you could meet, if only for a day – you would sit down and have some lemonade, a nice long chat, and come out of it a better person, just by talking to her.

Dear Friend,

You and your family recently welcomed a tiny little being into your lives, experiencing the magic of adding one more person to the world whom you will love with every fiber of your being. Congratulations, dear friend, to you and to us, for with her birth you impart upon us all a lesson of love, strength, and super-human perseverance. You are an inspiration.

You are one of those people who springs to someone’s side the moment they need you there, sometimes before even THEY know that you need her there. Your presence is nourishing and loving, and you impart a strength, confidence, empathy, and morality that rub off on people and make them want to be better versions of themselves.

When you are around someone you are fully present: you are engaged, committed, and completely real. You bring a love of life with you to every interaction, and possess an unwavering sense of who you are and what you believe. You are unfazed by chaos (complete opposite of me, obviously), and handle the craziness that life and other people may throw your way with ultimate grace, compassion, and patience. You are accepting of everyone, and can make a person feel welcomed, appreciated, and valued all in one quick exchange of words.

I wish I could say half of those things about myself.

In 2004, you were diagnosed with breast cancer. A devastating diagnosis for anyone, let alone a barely-30 year-old woman who is vibrant, active, and one of the healthiest people I know. At the time, I had only known you for a few months, I was going through my own major surgery (on my jaw – obviously a blip compared to the gravity of my your situation), and generally was not equipped to know how to handle something so large, so life-changing, so scary.

So, I said what little I knew how to say, and did my best to be a good friend in your time of need.

I fell short.

Over the coming months and years of our friendship, I came to realize how little I truly contributed to your well-being at that time. If I could turn back time and throw myself into being the type of friend you would have been had the tables been reversed, I would do it in a heartbeat.

With strength that left me in complete awe, you overcame the diagnosis that threatened your life. You took it all – the chemo, the treatments, the medication, the surgery, the poking and prodding and testing and uncertainty, and you turned it all on its head, showing that cancer who was boss.

You won, and you won by a landslide.

Over the past 8 years, I’ve watched you grow even stronger than you were before your diagnosis, and I am humbled by you. I watched you, determined to grow your family, get pregnant with and give birth to two amazing boys. I watched you mother them with admirable patience and wisdom, wondering all the while whether I would have been able to handle being in your shoes without losing my mind. You never did. You only got better.

Last year, during a particularly challenging phase of my pregnancy and life, you came to visit me for a weekend. Youleft your family – husband and two baby boys (twins!) – and hopped on a plane for ME.
Honestly and truly, that was one of the nicest, kindest, and most considerate things anyone has ever done for me in my entire life. We reconnected and it was wonderful. Your presence helped me recover my sanity, and helped me regain perspective on what is truly important. You reminded me that I need to remain true to my self, and committed to the path I paved for my life.

The pictures of your newest little angel have melted my heart, making me yearn to be by your side at this time. I wish I could be for you what you have been for me, friend.

I can still taste the salt in the air when I close my eyes and think about our long walks along the ocean. I will forever dream of the day when we will walk together once more, this time reminiscing about days past, and looking forward to the many exciting milestones in the lives of our little ones, as they grow and take center stage.

Congratulations, my dear. You and your family are in my thoughts and heart.

Thank you for letting me be part of your life.

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