All that we love…

There have been 2 dates this past week that have felt quite significant.  It was one year ago, on March 21, 2012, the first day of spring, that Elizabeth had what we had every reason to believe was the last of her 6 chemo treatments for lymphoma.  It was a day of celebration – of moving out of the long, dark winter of chemo, and into the rebirth and new life of spring.  In the months that followed, she was reborn, telling people of her journey with cancer, writing about it on her blog, going without her wig once her hair had grown in just a half-inch (“I know there is a part of me that knows bald can be beautiful.), returning to yoga, getting a new job, dating a new man, a body-piercing internship (“I got a Piercing Internship today. I start Sunday.  I’m so excited, I think I was born to poke tiny holes in people and then tell them how to heal them correctly.” June 1 2012), being photographed not just bald, but bald and naked…

Elizabeth Blue by Jade Beall

Elizabeth Blue, 4/13/12

Elizabeth Blue by Jade Beall

Elizabeth Blue, 4/13/12

Elizabeth Blue by Jade Beall

Elizabeth Blue, 4/13/12

It’s still beyond my comprehension that almost exactly 6 months later, on September 23,  2012, Elizabeth died peacefully at home, having known for 3 months that the cancer had recurred in her brain, and knowing for 2 months that there was no more treatment, and that she would almost certainly die before winter arrived again.

Just past the 6 month anniversary of her death, I’ve been surprised at how the experience of grief has gotten both easier and at times, more intense.  What is fascinating is how grief is alive, a kind of entity, with its own timing and its own movement, separate from me, yet weaving itself into my life. Showing up some mornings, and taking a vacation, perhaps, on the other days. Visiting elsewhere possibly? Perhaps I am sharing this particular grief with someone else, and it can’t be in two bodies at once?  It does visit less, but when it comes it is much more powerful  Some days I think of Elizabeth and feel simply joy and gratitude, peace. I feel at a distance from “the story” and from grief. And there are the days when everything I see, hear, eat, wear, etc, makes me think of her and the loss of her physical presence with such intense emotion, such depth of sadness…it arrives like a wave washing over and into me, embodying me, and I surrender, as long as it takes to come up again.

I had two months of being with Elizabeth when we knew she was dying, and I had time to say goodbye to her many times as she shifted and changed during that time, but the one who I’d known before that – that Elizabeth is the one I didn’t know I was never to see again, and that’s the one I miss the most. The one who told me stories about her friends, met me for coffee every week, talked about socialism and feminism and was outraged along with me about some injustice, made me worry about her choices in men, made plans for graduate school and buying a house in the desert, and loved me as only she could. I only recently started having the phenomenon of thinking of calling her to tell her about something I think she’d like, and then laughing at myself for it.  I’ve had the awareness that some small part of me is still waiting for her return, as though she were just on a very long journey, which of course she is…

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”  ~ Helen Keller


Coming next – emails from June, 2012, the next stage of Elizabeth’s journey…

26 thoughts on “All that we love…

  1. So poignant and potent, Lucia. Thank you for baring your soul, as Elizabeth apparently did also. (I wonder where she learned that…) Here’s to the bare and naked version of Life. No time for glitter and fluff! Blessings to you, strong woman, beautiful mother!

    • Joan, thank you for reading. Yes, we taught each other a great deal, and she continues to teach me. She was brave and inspiring, as well as challenging and hard-headed (wonder where she got those qualities…?) I love the photos of her, and was so honored to be included in the process. No time left to hide or be anything other than our whole selves!

  2. Sitting in the Full Moon Circle last night with you Lucia, and the very strong presence of Elizabeth, as I always feel her, right there, in all her beauty, was so special for me…Then, reading your post this morning, after just watching the beautiful moonset, fills me with tears and my own grief, as well as such joy and peace.” All is well, all is as it should be” – that seems to be the ever-recurring message of Life and Death. Your, and Elizabeth’s astounding journey together has touched and opened so many hearts Lucia! It is beautiful and humbling to be reminded of the infinite ways in which ALL of our lives interconnect and give meaning to each other life in the luminous web of the Universe…Thank you, thank you, thank you…

    • Helen, thank you so much for reading, for your beautiful words and for your presence! I am deeply touched and grateful to be in connection with so many inspiring and beautiful beings, and my deepest wish is that Elizabeth’s and my journey together ease someone else’s pain, and open some hearts to new possibilities. Thank you!

  3. Lucia, your sharing of your process is a gift to us all – the book of this will be well received – although I know that is not your purpose – your guidance to share this is a blessing to the world – I feel I know Elizabeth through you – thank you.

    • Marcey, thank you so much! Your words bring me hope and inspiration. I love that you feel all of this, and that you know Elizabeth through this blog – that is part of my calling, to share her with the world…

  4. Lucia, that kind of grief never leaves. And your blessed way of living will be as healing as it could be. I knew you when you were born and have been able to see you very little, but you are in my heart, as is your Dad. Much love to you from Mickey and me, Carol

  5. Such a beautiful share. I will never forget. Few experiences have moved me more. Thank you for your willingness and bold grace in continuing to share your process. Hugs, hearts and so much love & gratitude. XOX

  6. I never met Elizabeth but I’ll tell you this: I do indeed believe that when all is said and done; the apple does not fall far from the tree. And you, my dear, room somewhere in the recesses of my heart…I wish I’d met her.

  7. Lucia, I remember Elizabeth coming to our house in Oracle, Elizabeth and Lauren went to school together at Kino. She came into the kitchen, instant recognition of such a beautiful spirit. I heard about the Lymphoma, so very happy when the chemo finished. Each day I would follow her journey, simply blown away by the love she received and the love she gave back. I log onto Facebook every once in awhile now, still so saddened but so deeply honored to have spoken to her that one day and so moved to realize that because of her courage and yours, she is still with us.

    • Janine, thank you for your lovely comment. I remember Elizabeth talking about you, saying we would probably like each other, that we have much in common…I am so glad that you have been moved by her and hope you’ll continue to read her writings and my stories of our journey together. She is still with us in many ways…

    • Thank you, Patricia, for your words. I am grateful to have spent time with you as well, that you read this and send you love and gratitude. As someone who has gone through some intensity as well, I appreciate our connection!

  8. Absolutely stunning and moving. I read with tears in my eyes. You honor her so beautifully. I honor you for your courage and gracefulness.

  9. She is beautiful, sweet angel. i haven’t read your latest because I’m reading in order and I can only read so much at a time. I find it devastating, much as I hear your wisdom. Wish I’d done heart-centering work, but I don’t know what that is.

    • Thank you for reading these posts! The heart center work I write about started for me with my teacher Brugh Joy, and he’s passed but has a couple books out, the first is “Joy’s Way”. I find the Byron Katie Work the best tool when I find myself starting to believe stories that are causing suffering…

      And, as hard as it is, it seems to me you’re doing wonderfully, listening, feeling, writing… Moving through one day at a time…

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