What do you do while you wait for something awful to happen?
I have no idea what to do with myself. I have tons of things I should be doing. Dropping everything to race up the coast left me with a to-do list a mile long. I’m exhausted but sleeping, which has always been difficult for me since Maddie died, is even harder for me now. I’m so afraid something will happen while I’m sleeping…as if somehow I can prevent it when I’m awake.
Mike and Annie are being so patient with me. I try to remind myself that Mike is sad, too. But grief gives you blinders, you know? It’s hard to see anything else when your own pain and fear cloud your vision.
I was thinking about this last pregnancy. I was very nervous to tell Jackie! that I was pregnant. She knew that she was never going to have her own children, and I was scared that my pregnancy was going to cause her pain. The morning after her walk, I showed up at her apartment armed with a bounty of coffee and pastries. She opened the door and I burst into tears. When I told her I was crying because I was pregnant, she started laughing at me. She understood why I was nervous, but she was only happy for us. She texted me later and said, “It’s going to be OK, and you are going to have another beautiful baby. I just hope I’m here to meet him or her. Love you.”
A couple of weeks later when I miscarried, she was so sad. She checked on me every day, even during her own treatments and scans. She always thought of others, even when no one would have blamed her for only thinking about herself.
I just can’t believe that I’m not going to laugh with her again, or dance, or lay in bed talking about life. Who am I going to text when someone breaks our top-secret Facebook rules? Who am I going to have dinner with the night before Thanksgiving? How am I going to do this without Jackie!?
I’m so sorry you are going through this, Heather. I lost a very very close friend of mine to cancer 3 and a half years ago, she was only 16 and I was 22. People think because you know it is coming, it makes things easier, but it SO doesn’t – like you said, you’ve got the overwhelming anxiety leading up to the event, and then the engulfing grief that follows.
My own best friend is my world, and just the thought of having to ask myself the same questions you are asking yourself right now makes me want to cry out loud – I just can’t imagine my life without her in it.
I’m going to hug my best friend extra tight when I see her on Friday, and remind her how much I love her. You and Jackie are in my thoughts, and I am sending all of my good energy your way. You will get through this…but you shouldn’t HAVE to in the first place. Cancer sucks.
I can’t answer the questions at the end for you, but you will always have a little bit of Jackie with you because you had those times with her. Years from now you’ll remember a memory or experience you hadn’t realize you had stored because that’s how old friendships work. They keep giving, long after they have “ended.”
You have those dances, those dinners, those texts, those chats, those laughs. The memories will fade somewhat with time, but who Jackie has been in your life won’t. You will always be who you are, in part, because of her and because of the role she has played in your life. The questions will answer themselves with time, the grief will eventually start to ease and make way for happier remembrances. Because Jackie has always been nothing if not happy.
Love this comment.
Katie said it better than I could have. Jackie will always be with you. Hugs to you and Mike.
Erin W says:
Katie’s exactly right. Jackie is a part of who you are. What an amazing woman she is…to be so fun and happy! My heart goes out to you through this difficult time. That’s all I can say and words are never enough…
This is a wonderful comment from Katie. I am so sorry that you are having this happen to you–I feel like you have suffered enough grief in your life! We are not Jackie! but we are here for you on the internet.
Beautifully put, Katie.
I could not say it better than Katie did. So, I’ll echo her sentiments and let you know that I’m so so sorry that you’re going through this.
I believe Katie is right. I want to believe it. I HAVE to believe it.
My father passed away suddenly just over 2 weeks ago. A heart attack. He was only 58 and completely healthy. We never saw it coming.
Even though I’m a grown woman with children of my own, there’s still certain things I don’t know how to do without him. Things I don’t WANT to do without him. Things I wanted him to show and teach my own children, because he was so much better at them than I will ever be.
My father had a very happy, loving character and was very much ‘alive’. Just like the way you’ve always described Jackie! to us.
There is just one thing I would like to add to Katie’s comment, since she’s already said everything else there is to say. It’s what a good friend of mine said, a few days after my father passed:
‘Someone who is so loving and so alive like your father, will never completely leave you. Wherever he goes…’
She was right. He’s still with us, and he forever will be.
The same goes for Jackie!. As it has and always will for Maddie. People with so much love to give, so much life and happiness inside them, will never disappear completely…
You both seem like such fun. How wonderful that life brought you together to become such great friends. I wish you had more time with her.
Love to you all! Thank you for sharing your friend Jackie! with us.
I agree with Katie: both you & Jackie! seem blessed with an over-abundance of joy and zest for life….but I HATE that you have both been given far too much grief in your lives!! I hate, Heather, that you are losing another loved one. My heart just breaks for you.
Thank you for posting all those wonderful pictures of Jackie! on FB–now I really feel as though I got a glimpse of her soul: she radiates joy! I especially love 3 of those pictures you posted of Jackie!–the one of you & Jackie! that you made your FB icon, the one of Jackie! & Annie with the same hair style, and then the Jackie! & Maddie ones (it’s hard to decide which I love more–the one where they are both facing the camera with those incredible eyes they share or the one where they are facing each other, mouths open in delighted laughter). You need to put those in one of 3 pix frames!
I know you sometimes wonder if people have forgotten Maddie (we haven’t!) and likewise, you may wonder if people will forget about your wonderful friend (we won’t)–because they are alive in and through you. And at the same time, my dear, we don’t forget you: you are not simply the receptacle through which we remember the lovely souls. You are you: and we love you and I hope you feel encompassed by love and tenderness right now, too, as you wait for the awful, and wade through the awful when it comes. And know there are people who don’t even know you sitting vigil with you tonight and who will be here for you in the days, weeks, months, years to come.
You can do it without her. Because, even though we’ve never met, you are the strongest woman I know. You have overcome such adversity, and come out of it stronger and wiser than many in your position. You will overcome!! And if you ever need us, those who read your blog religiously, will be here for you, FIGHT ON! Heather, if anyone can do it. you can !!!! xxxxx
I have waited. It’s not was but you keep living, for her and for you. Thinking of you today.
I’m so sorry. Cancer SUCKS.
Huge ((hugs)). I wish I had more. T&P to you, Jackie, & her family.
My heart is breaking for you and Jackie and all who love her. My own best friend and I often marvel at the depth of our relationship. I don’t know how I would have navigated the last twenty years without her. I get the bond you two share. I also get the feeling of waiting…..being sick over what you know is going to happen. Cancer took my dad four years ago when he was 59. I have a first cousin in her 30’s battling ovarian cancer (successfully) and another, also in her 30’s, fighting sarcoma. She’s been given three months to live. My mother-in-law (who lost her 16 year old daughter to cancer) is battling pancreatic cancer right now.
Cancer is awful, awful, awful.
I didn’t comment the other day because I just had no words for you. I still dont. Just know you are surrounded by love and thoughts and prayers.
Molly (different Molly) says:
Idk, I feel that as long as I’m anxious and not at all relaxed, things can’t get worse. Unfortunately, that’s not true, nor is it healthy.
The worst part is that the world doesn’t stop. It keeps on turning, when all you want to do is scream “:don’t you know how much I’m hurting” at the strangers around you who go about their daily life. I don’t have a trick or a magic spell for you, but I am here, and I am so sorry.
I’m so sorry Heather. Wish I could stop your pain…
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I would like to think that Jackie and Maddie will be together soon.
Heather, I myself recently lost my best friend, not to illness but to her selfishness and terribly unhealthy relationship. And I know that there’s a major difference there–she is still out in the world, presumably happy and healthy (although I don’t know, because we haven’t spoken for a few months, now)–but the fact is, it sometimes feels like she’s not in the world anymore, because she went from the keeper of my secrets and my confident to this . . . ghost I can hardly think about without feeling a hole in my heart.
There’s nothing that fixes that hole but time. One day, you don’t cry as soon as you wake up. Another day, you think about your memories and smile instead of sobbing. The anger and the need to scream and the want to break things, they all dissipate–slowly. I still get caught by memories in the middle of the day, or while I’m doing something simple, and then I forget how exactly to breathe. I cleaned out a closet the other day and found a handful of things she’d left at my house when she visited last. Songs and TV shows and images remind me of her. And that won’t go away.
But it does get better. And in your case, you have the advantage that your memories with Jackie! will stay beautiful and perfect. I hate the way my friendship ended because I feel like some of the memories are now tarnished and broken. I want to scream at her and the world for that.
You have been dealt a bum hand, I think sometimes, in the game of life, because you’ve endured so much more than most other people do. But I am constantly impressed and bolstered by the fact that you’re always fighting forward, always still moving, and I think, hard as it is, you’ll fight through this, too.
Dearest Heather…..Ohh how my heart break for you!!! I read you post right after I read an update from Jackie’s dad. None of this is fair!!! I’m so very sorry Heather. I do have to say though….I truly believe you and Jackie are S0ulmates and b/c of this fact, you will ALWAYS have a profound connection. Just like Maddie, Jackie will only be a memory away. You will be Okay Heather b/c Jackie would NOT have it any other way!!! All you can do Sweet Heather is take one small step forward at a time and when you become overwhelmed with life remember you have MANY people who care about you and love you and we are right here to support and comfort you and remind you to keep on living….just the way your Maddie and Jackie would want you too!! Sending you much support, friendship and love!! xoxo
Feeling very sad. I feel every bit of pain you are having. Loosing best friend is so painful experience! Jackie will be always in our hearts like Maddie. Stay calm Heather.
I am so sorry, this is such a sad time, and there’s nothing that can really make that better or easier on you. I lost a cousin to a pervasive brain tumor that she fought for years, and I remember the days leading up to her passing I was completely useless. The only thing I was capable of doing was praying or writing in a journal or sending her cards, I just kept sending them up to the end because I wanted her to feel like I was still there though I couldn’t be there in person.
Be kind to yourself, and try to give yourself the freedom to feel the range of emotions that will hit you. I’m struggling with a family crisis right now on the heels of a miscarriage, and I have to say that it is emotionally frying, the reserves are gone, and the only thing to do is surround yourself with love, and take the best care you can of yourself. Maybe get some chocolate and wine in too
Heather, you will keep moving and living and laughing because that is what Jackie! would want you to do. You will take the time to grieve her when she is gone, but you will move on because that’s how you will honor her. I believe that she would want you to be happy, to hold your memories tight but also to laugh and to smile. Look at that beautiful smile Jackie! has had throughout her battle! Use that as your inspiration. So many people out there don’t get the type of memories and the type of friendship you two have… celebrate that and celebrate Jackie!
Thinking of you so much. You are both so lucky to have had each other.
Keeping you all in my heart as you all go through this. Waiting sucks, no longer waiting sucks, not being able to do anything sucks, cancer sucks. And sometimes, that’s all anyone can say.
Peace to you. Hoping that you manage to get some rest.
I’m so sorry. I remember the week before my grandpa passed away from lung cancer. I kept having sad dreams that he had already died and then I’d wake up and be happy he was still alive but sad that I still had to live through his death. It was an awful time. 11 years later, I still miss him dearly and think about things I wish I could tell him and life events I wish he didn’t have to miss. And that was my grandpa… he died pretty young (63) but at least he got to have kids and grandkids. I can’t imagine going through that with a close friend. It’s so unfair and I wish I could do something other than helplessly read about Jackie! slipping away. I am keeping Jackie!, her family, and you close in my thoughts. I love reading about your friendship with each other. I’m happy for all the memories you’ve made together and so sorry that you won’t be able to make any more.
I’m so sorry. Life is so cruel. One of my family members died somewhat unexpectedly last week, and although the circumstances are very different, I know that feeling of always wondering why it has to be this way.
Just sending you more love & comfort. I wish this wasn’t happening to Jackie! and I wish it wasn’t happening to you either. Continue to hold her in your heart – she’ll always be there.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Jackie! and her family. I don’t doubt that you would do this anyway, but when it’s hard to keep going, pay her kindness forward.
And I’m throwing this out there to the universe on your behalf — enough already. You have been through enough.
Today marks 11 years since my best friend died of a brain tumor
My little girl is named for her–my best friend was everything–I could call her at 3 am–it’s tough-I am so sorry Heather
I’m so sorry Heather!
My heart aches for you…
My heart is breaking for you, Heather …
I’m so sorry for both you and Jackie. Nobody should have to go through even one of these losses. You seem like an incredily strong woman and I know you will go on living. But I agree with another commenter – enough already, universe! My thoughts and prayers are with you.
It was 1 year May 8, 2012 that my own best friend lost her battle with leukemia.
I too got the call. First it was she has about 1 month or so and then 2 days later it was she may make it the weekend. We jumped into the van and bless my husband who drove us the 14 hours to get there.
I got to spend 3 days hand holding, back rubbing, lotioning, loving and reminding my friend I loved her till the end of time. Jennifer got to run my baby belly and just be loved by us all until she slipped away leaving me on awe of my friend who fought the most gracious 4 year battle of her life.
I miss the phone calls, I miss the texts. I miss her immensley. Then I hear this random song on the radio (from our bar days) and I smile the biggest smile ever as I know she is with me. Not that way I want but she is with me.
I’m sorry your friend is losing her battle. I hate that cancer does this to us. Screw you cancer!! I am flipping you the bird!
Longtime reader, not a big commenter Jacquie
I have nothing to say other than to offer you hugs Heather! I think Katie said it best. Jackie! will always be a part of who you are and how you love!
Heather I am so sorry! I don’t know you or Jackie! but I feel like I do fro your blog. First of all give yourself permission to grieve. This is a sad terrible thing and it is right and normal to grieve. Just like the pregnancy Jackie! wouldn’t be able to have but she wanted you to enjoy, you must enjoy the heck out of the life you get to have. I’m so sorry for the multiple painful losses you have had to endure but I know this all of those who have passed live on through you. Because of you many people know and will never forget Maddie, your Nana, your Uncle who died young, your Aunt and your bestfriend. They have taught us to enjoy our lives, to appreciate our loved ones, to make yummy treats, to be a supportive friend and much more. They live on through you and effect the lives of people that they have never met.
Thinking of you and your Jackie.
Take care of yourself, Heather. This situation is shit. I am so sorry.
Thinking of you, Jackie!, her family, all her friends, and Mike. From what you’ve shared here on your blog over the years, Jackie! has been nothing but the kind of friend we all dream of having and such an amazing, strong, and brave woman. We should all be so lucky to have a Jackie! as a friend.
I am so sorry, Heather. Life is so unfair sometimes – taking someone as lovely and beautiful and young as Jackie!. I imagine the anxiety of “waiting” must be awful.
So many others have talked about her living on in you and the memories that will never go away. I know you also share a close group of women friends who also love Jackie! and together, you will always keep her memory alive.
Not that any of this makes up for the loss…
I wish I knew the answer to this, it might have helped me when my father was in hospice. I know that I will hold him in my heart forever the same way you will hold Jackie! in yours. xo
I am so sorry Heather.
I lost a dear, dear friend last May to cancer and it was awful. She was declining quickly and I just had blinders on. I still thought she’ll be fine, she’s just going through a bad patch, but the doctors will fix her. They have to fix her, so it’ll be fine! She was going to San Francisco area for experimental treatment, so the last time I saw her was in February. I was so busy with work, but when she was home here in Tulsa she had a schedule of people to sit with her each night and have dinner with her. I am so glad that I put off work and went for my scheduled night. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself if I hadn’t. Anyway, we texted while she was gone and one day in May I hadn’t talked to her in a while, so I texted her and her sister replied and told me she had gone into hospice. My world shattered around me and I just couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right. Catherine was one of the most giving, wonderful people and this was not fair. She passed two days later.
I’m crying as I write this, for Catherine, for Jackie!, for you, and for me. I am so sorry.
I’m so sorry Heather. Katie put it much better than I ever could have. Thinking of Jackie, her family, your family and everyone who loves her.
Snarky Mommy says:
I’m so sorry, Heather. My sister-in-law lost her best friend three years ago to cervical cancer at 29. She was an amazing woman and there are still days I can’t believe that she’s gone. My SIL was able to be there and care for her most of the time, but being there didn’t make it any easier when the time actually came. I hope for everyone’s sake that Jackie! finds peace soon. Writing about her and sharing your photos is such a great testament to who she is and your friendship with her.
My heart is breaking for you. I love you. Sending hugs and prayers to you and Jackie, and het family and friends.
I’m so sorry. In my experience, this is a time of endurance, of getting through each minute, hour and day. She is on your mind, you know her heart, no friend could ask for more.
Hugs to you…
My heart aches for you… for Jackie! and for her family & friends.
Cancer sucks! It’s not fair! fucancer!!!!
Peace & strength during this difficult time.
I feel your pain. I lost my best friend 3 years ago to cancer. She was given 16 days to process she was dying and it was so hard watching her go through this transition. I look back now and am so glad I had one last visit with her before she was too sick. My heart aches for you….
I had a bad feeling this post was about Jackie! when I read the title in my twitter feed. I am so so so sorry that you guys (and the world) is losing her, but it also means Maddie will have an amazing auntie in heaven with her. Hang in there!!
I wish I had the right words. I don’t so I am sending peace and hugs to you, Jackie! and your families.
I’m sorry you’re having to go through with this so soon after losing your little one. I like to think that Jackie! will have an angel waiting to greet her when she gets to heaven. A little baby waiting just for her.
Dearest Heather and Mike,
It is my belief that, despite the awfulness of losing someone we love, they come back to us. I believe that Maddie found her way back to you in Annie, and I believe that Jackie! will find her way to you through your next child.
I don’t presume that everyone feels this way, but I do know (from experience) that from the bad and the sad will come the good and the needed. I wish that life had more certainty. I’m sorry for the pains you are going through.
Let the memories of your friendship buoy you in this ocean of grief, Heather. Try to remember the reasons you laughed with her and danced, and be warmed in the knowledge that death does not separate true best friends forever, but only temporarily.
I’m so sorry, Heather. Nothing I say will make you feel better, I’m sure. It will just take time.
So Sorry Heather. I just sort of became enthralled with Jackie’s caring bridge website. What a vivacious and kick butt girl she is. Her story was incredible, hard to read but def a reality check to get out there with guts! My heart hurts for you right now.
I’m a grief cleaner, when I am upset I clean..to bad I can’t come and clean for you..hahah (totally kidding I am not trying to be a stalker).
Thoughts going your way, and to all of Jackie’s friends and family.
I can’t find her Caring Bridge site, can you post a link? Or tell me how you found it? Thanks!
It is so beautiful what you write about Jackie! as a person! And is so sad to read it at the same time in this awful situation. I don’t know Jackie! but she is my first thought in the morning and the last in the evening. I cannot even imagine what Jackie!, her family, you and all her other friends are going through. I am just so sorry.
Oh sweetheart it’s a wicked, wicked wait. Incomprehensible. I feel your pain, keenly. So much. I love that Jackie’s dad said you have to live your life. I love that you will, with sadness in your heart but you WILL.
Oh hon. I’m so very sorry this is all happening. What a beautiful friendship you guys have. All my love to you XXXXX
Suzanne L. says:
Heather, I am so sorry that you are going through this awful time. My best friend and I joke around that if the other one died we wouldn’t know what to do. And it really isn’t a joke. Good girlfriends are precious and special and they just give us something that no one else can. Please know that I am crying with you, for your soon-to-be loss, for the horrible waiting you’re going through, and the losses you’ve already suffered. If there was anyway I could take this away from you I would. Keeping busy is the only way I know how to wait, but I’m not very good at it. Hugs from Oklahoma.
I am so sorry you’re going through this. This past Fall, I had to sit and wait with my Dad while he died. It was both the most wonderful and the most awful 5 weeks of my life. Wonderful because I got to love on him and be there when he left this world but awful for that very reason too.
Death is hard enough but to sit around and have to wait for it is a horrific kind of torture nobody should experience. Sending you love and hugs from Arkansas.
I’m really sorry, thinking of you through this time.
It’s not fair and you don’t deserve this. Jackie doesn’t deserve this. I wish anyone could tell you why it has to be this way.
I recently lost someone very close to me, my aunt, very unexpectedly so I have an idea of how much this sucks.
I don’t really know what to say. I’m so sorry. Lock all the texts you have from her in your phone, and surround yourself with pictures and memories of her. Make a CD of songs that mean something to you two. Allow yourself to do whatever you want, whatever you need to do, for as long as you can.
I’m so sorry.
I am so sorry. It is so f’ing unfair. But as usual–even if you don’t feel it–you appear to be handling yourself with grace and dignity under circumstances that many other people would buckle under. Wishing all of you peace and rest (and preschool for Annie so mama can get a break :-)).
I’m so sorry, Heather. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. It’s so sad and scary and it just plain sucks! I’m glad you got so many years with such a wonderful friend, but it’s going to be so hard to lose her. Your family, her family, and most of all Jackie! will be in my prayers.
How to get through the days? Just breathe. My therapist suggested ways of “distress tolerance” when I was going through a similar time. Hot baths. Washing the dishes slowly and concentrating on it. Holding an ice cube in your hand until it melts. Drinking a hot cup of tea and focusing on how it feels going down your throat. This is a horrible time and all you can do is get through. Like others have said, just remember that your love for Jackie! will never die.
My heartbreaks for you and for Jackie!
I’m in a very similar situation – my partner’s father collapsed over the weekend and we’re now just “waiting for the awful.” I’m amassing what I need to wear to the funeral and preparing to dash north, but can’t make any plans for anything.
But at least he’s 78 and has had a full life. Jackie! didn’t get that much time, and that’s terribly unfair. But it sounds as if she filled what she had to the brim. Hang in there.
Michelle Lamar says:
I love you. That’s all. xoxoxox
It’s so hard to think of you having to endure any more losses or pain. But how fortunate you have been to have had such a wonderful person in your life! I am so sorry for both you and Jackie’s family. Prayers and love to you all.
I am so sorry! I am thinking of Jackie,her family, and yours in this time. I am going to include a quote that someone read to me during a loss, I hope it helps. Love and hugs to you all.
“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”
lisa gleeson says:
I am sorry, Heather. You have already had to deal with so much and I can only imagine how paralyzed you must feel right now. Be good to yourself. You can’t be there for others if you aren’t in a good place with yourself. I will be holding you and Jackie! in my thoughts.
You go on one heartbreaking step after another. Something happens and you think I want to share this, they would have loved this, I want your advice. You try to remember everything. You cry and laugh at your memories. My best friend died two years and 4 months ago. He had CF and had a lung transplant that rejected. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and miss him. This song helps me deal with my grief, maybe it might help someone else http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KjRLq4uF4A&feature=youtube_gdata_player
I wish no one had to live with this pain. Please remember you are not alone. Hugs