Sunday, February 19, 2012


I didn’t expect it so soon…………When I read that she had passed over on Facebook, it knocked the earth from under my feet. I saw her last summer and it was such a wonderful re-joining! We each had such beautiful, loving memories of each other. I had planned on having lunch with her, but the busy days of life just get in the way; and then it’s too late. Barb had posted on Facebook about her re-occurrence of breast cancer and although not in any pain was undergoing chemo and radiation. It just happened all so quickly. My history with Barbara goes back over a decade ago. A friend, who lived in Bandon at the time, asked me if I would be willing to begin A Course In Miracles group up in Bandon. Although the group I’d started in Port Orford was going strong, I agreed because I believe I was asked for a good reason. Barbara was at that first group meeting where I would attempt to explain what ‘The Course’ was all about and how the weekly meetings would be conducted. She had some questions that gave me pause for a few minutes, but I guess I answered to her satisfaction because she was a faithful attendee from then on…………even hosting it at her house for about a year.
Barbara was always very open about being a survivor of breast cancer……..and the subsequent problems that were off-shoots of that…………getting insurance, having fibromyalgia, etc. Somewhere around that time another dear friend from Colorado, Millie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In spite of having done all the “right” things like yearly mammograms, self-exams, etc. Millie was diagnosed with stage 5 breast cancer. We all know the helpless feelings of wanting to do something…….ANYTHING! help someone you love and the powerlessness and frustration of coming up empty-handed. Then I had the idea come to me to have various women I knew who themselves were breast cancer survivors, and ask if they would be willing to write to Millie and offer some support and encouragement in dealing with all or some of the various areas; physical, emotional, spiritual and mental…………..Something THEY might have benefited from knowing when they first faced their diagnosis. And Barbara was at the top of the list and immediately responded. Barbara had been thinking of writing a book about her experiences with this awful disease and so I’m assuming that she was more than full of ideas, suggestions and hope to offer. My friend, Millie, who is a remarkable and courageous woman in her own right, did indeed become one of the survivors of breast cancer, joining Barbara in the ranks of success stories. A number of years later, Millie, came out to Port Orford to visit me and I thought I’d set up a lunch up in Bandon with Barbara so these two could meet. Well, I might as well have been one of the salt or pepper shakers for all that I was able to contribute to that get-together! The two of them immediately embraced, enormous grins of their faces, and proceeded to explore every aspect of life’s ups and downs and blah, blah, blah…………I don’t think I’d ever seen either one of them so animated. After a few attempts of join the conversation, I decided that this was NOT about me, but two beautiful, strong survivors connecting as only those who would know can connect……..understand beyond mere words. I felt privileged to

have witnessed it.
So Barbara’s breast cancer returned, but I will always call her and think of her as a survivor. From her initial bout with cancer to the final, the lives that she touched, the people she loved and was loved by in return, the inspiration her life instilled, her joyful laughter and down-to-earth honesty, she survived Life………by example……..and by simply Living. I know for certain that there will be at least one set of open and welcoming arms to greet me when my turn comes round……….God Speed, Barbara~

**One small footnote.........I was told by a close friend of Barbara's that her final passage was caused not by breast cancer but by an unusual type of non-smoker's lung cancer.

1 comment:

  1. Donna, such a moving and beautiful tribute to the best friend I've ever had. Thank you so much.
    Just want to let you know - it was not at all related to breast cancer but was a completely different lung cancer ... (and the type that does not occur in smokers).
    Barb could make an instant soul connection with just about anyone. I will miss her always.
    Robin Haruna