Our new podcast “Women Travel Better in Pairs” has been a fantastic new adventure. I knew it would be great because we launched the podcast on my best friend’s birthday, March 9th! A podcast of fun travel adventures, the true premise of our podcasts rests in our relationships as women… Better in Pairs! Whether it is a trip to the bathroom together or a girl’s weekend or a coffee with your favorite sister, there is something very special about the women in our lives.
Today, I am writing about a very special pair for me who is no longer in my life. Breast Cancer took my oldest and dearest friend away. It is 10 years this year since she passed, however I can hear her giggle, see her smile and often find myself wishing I could talk to her or finish one of those “remember when…..” stories.
The beauty of our life-long friendship was a sense of security that no matter where we were in the world we had each other. We met in kindergarten and shared the same classroom through fifth grade. I would move away to two more states but our friendship remained. We would attend neighboring colleges in Rhode Island and eventually we would both meet boys named Kevin that we would marry. Her Kevin having similarities to my personality and my Kevin having strikingly similar personality traits to hers, we knew we really married each other. A promise made in a tree when we were seven fulfilled as we were each other’s maid of honor.
Kathy found the lump herself. Her doctor told her it was nothing, she argued for further testing and received her diagnosis. She would beat the cancer, I wasn’t worried, she was young, people beat cancer every day. She did beat cancer the first time, but it came back and there wasn’t much that could be done. She would die one month after her 43rd birthday.
She came to visit me several months before the end. I lived in my own oblivion that she would beat cancer again. She knew better but she spared me this important fact, she knew what I could handle. The day she came to say good bye, we went out to breakfast, we walked the beach and she watched me coach my daughter’s soccer game. While we never spoke about the end that was coming, she was most concerned about Kevin. He had been through a lot with her illness and she wanted more than anything for him to have his life back and to find happiness again.
A week before her death, I would get the call that she did not have much time. I jumped in my car and drove to the next state where she lived. A woman stopped me as I got of my car, yelling from the front door that she was not taking visitors. I crumpled back into the car saying to myself, she has to see me, she’s my best friend, “my lobster” as we often laughed.
She saw me out the window and as I started to get back in the car, Kevin came running out. I heard him say to the woman, “Not her, Kathy wants to see her”. To say this visit was excruciating would be an understatement and for Kevin I had absolutely no words. Cancer is nasty.
In a society that is more connected than ever before, it is frightening that loneliness is now becoming epidemic. Friendships are the cornerstone of combating loneliness. I was lucky, I spent my entire life, well into my adulthood with a friend who knew me better than I new myself. For all the insecurities, break-ups, disappointments and mean girl games I would encounter growing up the security of this one friend saw me through it all.
In honor of my friend, my first and most special pair, and for all of us touched by breast cancer, I ask you to do two things. Get checked, breast self exam or get a mammogram or both and even better ask your girlfriends to do the same. We are Better in Pairs. Even though, Kathy did everything right and fought the good fight she did not survive this devastating disease. I miss my pair and I will never have another one like her. So please, do it for Kathy and the life that was taken far too early. Or, do it for your pair, because they will suffer more than you know without you.
For breast cancer awareness month please listen to our latest podcast episode Better Breasts Together with two breast cancer survivors. Great advice on how you can help, what to do or say, and how to get support if you receive this diagnosis.
#BetterinPairs #JointheJourney #WomenTravelBetterinPairs #she’syourlobster