PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Pendulum Swingeth

Well, yesterday was overall a great day. It started with tears, both sad & joyous, as I read two separate articles in the paper - of course the "big story" across the country right now is the horrific murder of pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett, and because her killer (ok, alleged killer, but seriously, there's not a lot of "reasonable doubt" going on here) will be arraigned here in Kansas City, it feels even bigger because it is omnipresent. The use of the internet - both in connecting these women, and tracking down the killer - makes me wonder how this tool that binds can also sever - it swings both ways, physics in the matrix.
The other story was about a little boy who was battling cancer, and how Santa & his Elves made an acorn magically turn into a 30-foot pin oak, strung with lights. It's an awesome story and should inspire us all to look beyond our lists & plans & holiday stress.
You can read it here though you may have to register.
The rest of my day was great - blogging, getting to see Leta in my hat on and a little afternoon shopping with a friend.
This morning I had an email waiting for me, telling me that an old college friend was finally losing her battle with cancer. She developed breast cancer in 1994, only five years after graduation, and two years ago it spread to her brain, and while she initially fought it successfully, it has now has resurfaced viciously, in her diaphragm as well. She had gotten her Masters in Divinity after school, and I was always in awe of how she would counsel others in the hospital, while fighting her own battle inside. And I just this minute got an email from the friend who posted the news that Becki has died. Peacefully, at home, she just stopped breathing and let go.
When I got the first email, I cried bitterly in my office, behind a closed door. I chastised myself for not keeping in touch more, for being a pollyanna and believing that since she'd won the battle so many times before, she would live forever, or at least as long as the rest of us. I'm feeling sorry for myself because Becki, dear Becki, a woman I always viewed with admiration, and guilt, because I was well and she was sick, and in the deepest, most honest part of myself, some degree of terror, because she was going through all of this, and what strange cell formation might decide, inside me, to rebel and revolt and ultimately destroy me. The second email came somewhat as relief, to know her suffering is over, and that her passing was quick. I find it hard to focus on much of anything right now, especially work.

But I am going to focus on this: In 1998, shortly after I moved to Kansas City, the Women's Final Four basketball championship was taking place here. Becki, Joanna, and Sheila all came in and stayed with me, and we went to the big final game together. Becki had lost all of her hair from another round of chemo, and wanted me to paint her head. So I did. I put the entire logo for the games on her head. If I say so myself, it was an awesome replication. She got on ESPN, and the camera guy thought she was a total freak, and had shaved her head just for the game. Becki actually started to chicken out when we were getting close to the camera crew. I said, "Becki, we are getting you on tv. It's too late to back out now." and I went over and grabbed the camera guy & told him to check out my friend. After she realized it was going to happen, the butterflies flew away & she chirped, "I've got cancer!"
God love ya, Becki. You will live on in the hearts of so many people, most of whom will remember your peaceful nature, your sense of humor, your beautiful spirit. And I'll also remember your beautiful, bald, painted head and the smile when you saw it in the mirror.

posted by PlazaJen, 10:31 AM