I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve been busy trying to live life fully. I have started my training for my first half marathon later this year in celebration of my 10th anniversary of surthriving cancer. So I’m not sure I shall apologize for my lack of witty words on paper.

I had wanted to write something a few weeks ago as it snowed here yet again. I had something on my heart at that time, but I decided against putting fingers to keyboard for fear I would piss off many people I love. However, yesterday, April 14th, just two days after a lovely, sunny day of nearly 80 degrees, I went between my computer and my windows, watching the snow fall once again as I stood at the window and reading of oh so many comments of complaint of the winter that would not end, as I sat at my computer.

While I stood looking out the window at the falling snow, the snow fall got heavier and so did my heart, but not for the reason you may think.

Let me take you back a few years in my life. It was early evening, a winter day. Fresh snow had fallen most of the day. The snow was deep. I don’t recall if we had seen a lot of snow that year, but maybe we had. I know it was cold. I was never very fond of winter cold. I had to be sitting in this room that I sit now, otherwise I would not have heard the slightly muffled laughter and shrill screams that greeted my ears and broke whatever thoughts were going through my mind at the time. I went to the back door and there was my neighbor, Kim and her adolescent daughter. Kim was all bundled up, smiling and laughing. Her daughter was out of my vision but I could hear her little girl laugh, as I saw the snowball fly past Kim. They were playing in the snow, throwing snowballs, making a snowman, making snow angels, playing and smiling. I opened the door to this woman, my neighbor who had lived next door to me for just about 7 years before I actually spoke to her. She and her husband had gotten to know my husband, but I was never one to go out of my way to get to know or meet people.

We were in Year two of our friendship that day I stood in my door talking to her as she and her daughter played in the snow. Never in my life had I wanted so badly to throw on a coat and run outside to play in the snow, with them, but I held back.

I finally got to know Kim and her family early in 2004. By spring of that year Kim was diagnosed with Leukemia. I saw her just hours before she was headed to the doctor to receive that diagnosis, and I knew that the doctor would give her those words, because she told me about the weird bruises she had on her legs. It had taken me all this time to open the door of my heart to a new friend and now this. She went through some horrible treatments and got better, in August I received my own bad news, Stage IV Tonsil cancer. I had gone to visit Kim when she was sick, now she was coming to see me. After horrible treatments for me, I got better. Kim got sick again.

That December winter day, as Kim stood knee deep in the snow with a hat covering her bald head she told me she refused to sit inside feeling sorry for what lay down the road for her. She wanted to be outside playing in the snow with her young daughter, because this might be her last time to EVER play in the snow with her. She was right. Kim would die the following year at Thanksgiving without any more snow falling before her death. Each and every time the snow falls I think of that day, with me standing in the door watching her, wishing I could join in the fun, but this was their moment, not mine. I had to give that to them. I knew there would be no more winters for her. She fought bravely for each day and tried not to waste those days grumbling that it was too cold or too hot, or snowing or raining or wind blowing. She lived as much as she could in 44 short years. I believe she was my teacher on this journey, I hope I have learned well. I try hard not to grumble. I don’t always succeed and when I don’t I think of Kim.

Snow fall was her last hurrah and my glass is half full.



About jlturtlerunner

12 plus Years Surviving Stage IV Oral Cancer. I have become a "Turtle" runner since that diagnosis, as a way of saying, "Take That Sucker!" After 12 years of being a Turtle Runner, I'm adding a new title, Turtle Rucker!

4 responses

  1. Jill Kuebrich says:

    Another great reminder Jerri Lynn! Love it and needed it today! Thanks!

  2. Tina Straits says:

    It sounds like your glass is way more than half full! I am sorry that you lost Kim. I lost my own friend Alice to cancer in 2000 and will lose another soon. They both have taught me such amazing lessons. Enjoy your half marathon, you can do it!

    • jlturtlerunner says:

      Thank you Tina. I’ve lost many and that is why I keep that glass half full. I honor all I’ve lost by continuing to live. I am so sorry for your losses and the losses yet to be.