I lost a friend to cancer today.
I know this term is so loosely used in the Indie book world because that’s where I met her. She was one of the first people I connected with, even before I published my first book. But she really was a friend. A supporter. Someone who ran to me for help, someone who read my books, someone who stayed up talking to me into the wee hours of the night. Since she’s been sick, we lost and gained touch here and there. But we made sure to connect every so often. She was always filled with hope, many times, we had cheered at her prognosis.
She had beat it!
She was in remission!
No more chemo!
And then life got busy, life blew up actually. And before we all knew it, the cancer was back.
And when she called me a few weeks ago, it was to tell me that she was done fighting. It was goodbye call, an I love You call, a call to let me know that she knew her time had run out.
I’m being selfish when I say that this has been the icing on what has been a really downer of a week. The learning curve at my new position really beat my ass. I heard from an old friend who is so angry, there is no turning the time back on a friendship. I had my badoodie handed to me on all levels, and still I can’t cry. Because I am out of tears. Because with the loss of my friend, with the loss of that person, with the uncertainty at the office, I used my outlet one year ago when I wrote In This Life.
In This Life releases in three days and I am happy about that. For a book that was written as an ode to loss, I feel like I’ve said it all. It’s a testament to acceptance, to the infinitesimal proof that FATE plays a grand hand in all this. That we are touched by people at different stages and at some point, they end up going away. They leave you with lessons, different ones, some WTF moments, some laugh out loud ones. That’s why all those who know me, hear me say this all the time.
It’s not the destination that defines who you are. It’s the trip you take, the packing, the organizing, the choice of outfits, the kickass shoes. When you get there, you’ve already won, because the core of who you are, your heart, your person, has already developed as you were being strung along.
So goodbye, my dear Stephenie. Goodbye, XX. Goodbye, In This Life. I’m going to leave you all in good hands. I can’t force my play, I can’t win this game. But I can always remember. And you will always be a part of who I am.