As I have mentioned many times before I have met the most phenomenal people along this unexpected journey of mine. Many who had walked or were busy walking their own journeys – happy to chat and share advice and their own experiences….
I met Bronwyn via a Facebook message she sent Pete after she heard about my diagnosis. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, had been clear for a year and was willing to chat to me if I wanted to …. I remember being a little nervous phoning her that afternoon, I have never been one for speaking to people I barely know, especially about things they may find difficult and personal. But I found myself 8 weeks from the end of chemo, feeling directionless and a bit overwhelmed.
I needn’t have worried – she was amazing – open and honest about her experiences and willing to share ….
I found her story compelling. She had initially been told rather insensitively by an Oncologist that her case was far too severe for her to even have chemo and that she only had a few months to live.
I was horrified!
She was matter of fact.
She even made me giggle when she said that she certainly wasn’t going to take THAT lying down ***her exact words may have been a little harsher than those 🙂
With the help of family she found an alternative treatment plan and had changed her lifestyle. We spoke for absolute ages about the things she had found that worked for lymph drainage, diet etc. She had done her homework and was knowledgeable about so many things. Even just on the phone her positive attitude, upbeat personality and determination were palpable and contagious. I felt energised just chatting to her!
She told me just how important support was from family and friends. She spoke at length about her incredible husband – something I could relate to 🙂 and her two little girls, which made up her life.
She took the time to send me info via email and checked up on me a few times after that…. And I honestly wish I had done the same…
But you know what happens, life gets busy, and months go by and intentions become just that, intentions…….
Yesterday Pete came home from work and I could immediately tell something was wrong…
He said he had seen a Facebook notification that Bronwyn had passed away that morning….
Bronwyn, you will never possibly know how much you helped me, someone you had never met. I am so sorry that we will never have that tea and catch up session that we spoke about.
My heart goes out to your husband and girls. I know you must have put up one hell of a fight
Rest in Peace.
I wanted to share the message she sent Pete cos it gives you a glimpse of the incredible woman who wrote it:
I don’t know if you remember me but I was at school with you and Sally. I have been watching your updates on Janine who is bravely battling breast cancer. I just wanted to give you some hope, I too have scars (although I wear them with pride now). I was diagnosed stage 4 last year in August and have been improving ever since. I have not had any traditional chemo treatments as have followed a natural route but I am aware of the mental and emotional battles that get fought on a daily basis. I have been clear for a year now and I just wanted to say that I think a positive attitude constitutes 90% of healing. Our minds are powerful healers. Your support of Janine is immeasurable and it takes a true man to stand up and be counted with the chips are down. I wish for your family a journey that brings you closer, makes you appreciate the things you didn’t before and brings joy when the world thinks you should be sad. I know Janine has a good support system in place but if you ever need to talk to a stranger who will just listen, please give her my number.
All the best to you both,
“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. Anon
“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfil the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“I am always saddened by the death of a good person. It is from this sadness that a feeling of gratitude emerges. I feel honoured to have known them and blessed that their passing serves as a reminder to me that my time on this beautiful earth is limited and that I should seize the opportunity I have to forgive, share, explore, and love. I can think of no greater way to honour the deceased than to live this way.” ― Steve Maraboli
“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?” ― Jeanette Winterson,