Broken Halo

Fallen Angel Sorrow Art

Early in the morning on Thursday April 19, 2018 my beautiful best friend, Karen, lost her five year battle with Peritoneal Cancer, a rare aggressive Gynecological Cancer.

Karen was diagnosed five years ago after having severe bloating and stomach pain for three months. Her first surgery was supposed to be a complete hysterectomy. However, when they went in, they found tumor wrapped around her Colon. They removed 18 inches of her Colon, her Gallbladder and her Appendix in that surgery and advised the odds of her making it were slim. She made it.

One month later Karen had complete and total hysterectomy followed by aggressive Chemo. She lost her hair and a lot of weight. Again, they advised she probably would not make it. She made it.

They gave her 18 months to live and ensure there was understanding that Peritoneal Cancer never goes into remission. Karen had a six month break from Chemo but more or less received Chemo for the last five years. She was given 18 months to live and lived five years. She had me and all that loved her convinced she would beat it. She did not.

On Saturday April 7th, Karen reached out to me to say goodbye. She told me it was almost time. I asked to be with her and hold her hand. She told me she knew I lost my sister to a terminal illness in the same fashion and didn’t want me to do another death bed vigil. She also told me she wanted me to remember her strong. We said our goodbyes over the course of three hours. Every day from April 7th to April 19th I sent Karen a message in the morning that said that I loved her and I was lucky to have been her friend. I was told by her family she treasure each messaged but it would have been too hard for her if I was there and saw her that way. She wanted me to be remember her strong.

She was the best friend I ever had. I am not sure what life looks like without her. If you are the praying type, I ask you pray the healing of my mind, body and spirit because I feel very broken and lost. I also have my own health issues going on and had 10 tubes of blood drawn this morning.

My good news from yesterday was… I got the call about Karen only hours before I was giving the most important presentation of my entire career to two Directors and two Group Managers who will determine the future of my career. My boss was standing next to me when i got the call about Karen. I never told him my best friend was dying. He was in shock when I told him this was going on the whole time I worked for him. He asked if I wanted to reschedule the presentation because my Directors would understand the situation. I told him my Directors would understand but Karen was a hardass and would not understand. She would expect me to honor her by crushing it. I hung a Post-it note on my laptop that said, “Crush it for Karen” and off I went to do my presentation. I was very relaxed. I smiled and spoke authentically. At the end, one Director (a female Director I never met in person before)said, “I am very very impressed” and the other Director(a man who works in DC I’ve met and bonded with) said, “I am pleased as punch!”. My direct supervisory followed me out of the room and said, “GREAT Job. Now go take care of yourself. I’ll see you in a week!”. I thank Karen for the inspiration. I crushed it for Karen! I left the office immediately after that meeting was over. I am officially on Leave from work until April 30th.

I spent yesterday afternoon with with Karen’s sister and her long time boyfriend and caretaker. I spent yesterday evening with a couple of friends and spent last night making phone calls to tell folks I loved them. I went to Karen’s Mom’s house this morning and then focused on caring for myself this afternoon. Now, late on Friday afternoon I am starting to allow myself to feel again. I was strong for two days. It is time for good cry again.

Karen’s services should be Tuesday with her obit in the Sunday paper. Her sister was meeting with the Rabbi today.

Karen was a Country Music lover. She once said to me, “everyone needs some country in their life Linda Long!” She took me to two Country music concerts, Kenny Chesney and Darius Rucker. In memory of my beautiful best friend, Karen Grant, I am sharing “Broken Halos” and “Somewhere With You”. I needed Country in my life today.

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit:

I Will Be Brave – A Tribute To A Friend

Art butterflies

I Will Be Brave – Tribute To A Friend
By: Linda A. Long

I will not
Pretend to be
Strong any longer
I’ve been doing
That since
You were diagnosed
Five years ago
I will allow you
To see and know
That I am sad
I am sad
Your body
Is slowly down
I am sad
You will be
Losing this battle
I am sad
The world
Will no longer
Know your
Beautiful face
I am sad
To lose
My beautiful friend

As you approach
The end of
The battle
I will tell you
Your bravery
Changed me
And showed
Me the way
Your courage
Challenged me
To open up
And love more
Your compassion
Empathy and love
Showed me
What a true
Friendship really was
And demonstrated
To me
The importance
Of authenticity
And loyalty

As I’ve navigated
Life and faced
Your example
Reminded me
To not to lose
The battles
In my head and
Most importantly
Your example
Taught me
To show up
Show up
For the people
I love
What will I do
Without you
My good egg
What will I do
Without our
Beautiful friendship

As time slips away
I reflect
On our three hour
Coffee dates
At Starbucks
Sushi with
Seaweed salad
Stuck in our teeth
Grape Vodka shots
Wine and beer Sunsets
Truth and direct honesty
Between us
I will cherish the
Never ending
Stream of
Written messages
Between us
Daily Check-in messages
Weekly wrap-up messages
OMFG messages
You would not believe
What just happened messages
And most recently
The message
I never wanted
To receive
The message
That said
You wanted me know
Just in case
It happens fast
You wanted me
To know
It is almost time

I won’t pretend
To be strong
I won’t
I am sad
I am sad
To lose
My friend
I am sad
The world
Is losing a
Beautiful soul
I am sad

I am sad
But I will
Put my chin up
I will carry on
I will live bigger
Smile wider
And love deeper
You were in
My life and
Your shining example
Will give me
The courage
To reach for
My highest good
With love
In my heart
I will be brave

The words
I have to say
Today are
Thank you
I am grateful
You allowed me
To be your friend
I am thankful
You were
In my life
I love you
My beautiful friend
I love you
I am sad
But I will
Be like you
I will be brave

(C) 2018 Linda A Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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NOTE: I was home today feeling sorry for myself because I have a chip fracture in my foot and I am stuck in a boot for three weeks. I got a message – a message I knew was going to come soon. It was words she couldn’t bare to say out loud but knew she had to say them to me. My friend’s battle with Peritoneal Cancer is coming to an end. She is not on hospice but it will be soon. They gave her 18 months to live almost five years ago. She fought it hard but the Cancer is throughout her body.

I remember sitting at the table in a sushi restaurant five years ago when she told me she was diagnosed. I shared this whole journey with her. We started messaging each other daily a few years ago. Some days our chats were light-hearted while other days our words were heavier; filled with tears instead of laugther. For us to spend an hour “chatting” instead of talking is pretty normal for us. Today, she needed to tell me things but wasn’t up to a visitor or talking on the phone but she wanted me to know. I am sitting here trying to wrap my head around life without her and hoping I can see her one last time.