Though I have never met her, I have a fondness and attachment for her I cannot comprehend nor explain. She was my mother's friend, and she knew things about my mom that I could not understand. They formed a friendship in an unlikely place - the oncology room at UAB. The two of them were on the same schedule for chemo, and they hit it off while talking during the sometimes two hour long sessions of literal poison being dripped into their veins. They knew each others fears and pains without having to say a word. I can hardly imagine the comfort they felt in one another just knowing, with no uncertainty, that there was at least one other person who knew what they were experiencing.
From the very beginning, we knew that Cathy's cancer was different. It continued to grow during chemo, which is rare for breast cancer that typically responds so well to today's treatment. Within months, Cathy learned that not only had the cancer grown but it had spread to her shoulder. Then to her spine. And then her brain. And I can rationalize that it is different from the cancer that my mom had. But it doesn't take away the fear that her disease still lingers somewhere in her body waiting to attack and kill.
Last week, my mom came up for an appointment with her doctors here. Her friend Cathy lives just a few miles from me, so she visited her. Hospice had already been called, and everyone knew it wouldn't be much longer. Cathy told my mom that she could feel things happening in her body. But despite that realization, she was in good spirits. Perhaps she knew she was ready to go. I suppose she was exhausted from the constant fight for the last two years.
Cathy died on Monday night around 11:30. My mom is sad, to say the least. I know she is scared. I know that I am scared as well. I mourn for Cathy's family who has endured the suffering and loss of their loved one. I mourn for anyone has lost someone to this dreadful, awful disease - cancer.
Thank you, Cathy, for being my mom's friend when I didn't know how to be. I hope you are safe and resting in the arms of Jesus.