Writing Pieces

Blue Ribbon

By April 13, 2018April 9th, 2019No Comments

My friend called to tell me she’d fallen while hiking and might have to have an MRI for the slight pain she had in her side.  Fallen while hiking.

Four months later, she was gone.  

She hadn’t hurt herself while hiking.  She had a venomous cancer that was consuming her.

She was beloved by all who knew her.  For her kindness. For her innate joy and playfulness.

Beloved for all the good things she uniquely was.

You felt that she understood you.  Loved you. Listened to you. Uniquely.  She was on your team.

Losing her was losing a part of you.

As she moved into the reality of her disease she seemed to gather strength.  Wisdom. Of course those things were always there. She simply hadn’t needed them in this way before.

Her final chapter was perhaps the greatest lesson.

She accepted it.  She said her mother had taught her to accept the cards you’re dealt.  She wasn’t afraid of death. Her main concern was for those around her.  The husband she adored. The children she treasured. The family she embraced.  The friends she held close.

I was speaking to her on the phone one day.  She was supposed to be resting but instead had been playing with her grandson.   It was around the holidays and the house was filled with his toys. She tried to engage him with these toys, but all he wanted was a simple, blue silk ribbon.  He kept bringing it to her and finally she realized that what he wanted was for her to hold it up and allow him to run through it. Like an Olympian runner finding victory.  When he’d run through, he’d roll to the floor in gales of laughter. Causing her to do the same. She had the best laugh. Then she’d tie up one side of the ribbon, he’d hold the other, and she’d run through.  Again, side splitting laughter.

As she told me this story, she said, “You know Mary, I so realize it’s the small things that bring happiness and joy.  I will keep this in mind now. The small things. The blue ribbon times”.

She would mention this again and again in the weeks following.  The joy of taking her husband’s hand. Her son gently rubbing her back.  The gift of her oldest friend sending a photo of the innocent, joyous days of her youth.   Blue ribbons.

We often talked of her joy of dancing. Something everyone adored in her. She said, “Ahh, I love to dance!  But you know, I hate to leave a party early”.

To our immense sadness, she left the party decades early.

In those final days she continued to be that which she had been.  Kind. Of joy. Spiritual. Concerned about those that surrounded her.

She taught us all the gift of the final act.  Her extraordinary strength, wisdom, positivity, love.  To the end.

This was a lesson no one will ever forget.

Our Toni.  We will miss you forever.

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Listen to a Podcast of Blue Ribbon:

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