I lost a client last week. She had been part of my life for two and a half years and showed me how it is possible to have cancer but not to live a life of cancer.
She was having rounds of chemo in those two and a half years, different ones, different doses, sometimes having a break of a few weeks for special events - like the wedding of her beautiful daughter. Life continued and I never felt like she was "battling" cancer, she wasn't "fighting" - she was living her life instead, literally always with a smile on her face.
There was only one time I ever saw her upset - she had developed ascites (a collection of fluid in the abdomen) and was in pain and uncomfortable and didn't quite understand what was happening. The next time I saw her she was her beautiful smiley self. The ascites never went of course, that is part of the progression of the disease. I saw her a few more times, including a visit to her home once when she wasn't up to coming to me and once after that when she made it all the way up two flights of stairs to come to the clinic. Determination. She was puffed but still smiling.
Last Wednesday, all throughout the day, I thought of her. I knew she had gone into hospital and when I got home on Wednesday night I promised myself to message her daughter in the morning to find out how she was doing. After my first client on Thursday morning I switched on my phone and there was a message to say that she had passed away the night before with her husband by her side.
I am honoured to have been able to spend time with you J, you have touched my life and I am better for having had you in it.