Sunday, March 21, 2010


After the winter I had I feel like I should post an update on me. I made it through the winter -- yesterday was the first day of spring! I am still using my little blue light every morning, but I am down to just 15 minutes a day.

Since the end of February (when this little house-selling adventure began) I have been so busy I haven't had time to be sad. Or perhaps I should say that, although I have felt sad, and still do at the thought of the loss of my dear friend, it's not so piercing and painful as it was last fall. It's been close to 5 months and I see now that much of my grief was mixed up with the incredible anguish I felt in the 2 weeks leading up to her death, when I helped to care for her.

Those days ... those long, awful days spent tiptoeing around the condo when she was getting some much-needed rest or careening wildly about, dashing for pain meds, waste baskets, ice chips or ice packs, were the most difficult of my life.

The hardest thing? We fought. Well, she fought. She was abrasive, abrupt, easily frustrated. She wouldn't talk about the fact that she was dying. So I wasn't allowed to talk about it either. That was really hard. And though I backed off from every fight, acquiesced every time to her wants, needs, whims ... she still found a way to turn it into an argument. When I backed off and fell silent she accused me of being angry with her. Which I was, kind of ... but not about what she thought I was angry about. And when I denied the anger, it was worse. We went in circles, like a dog chasing its tail. I hardly knew where my anger and frustration stopped and hers started.

I am not ordinarily one to back away from confrontation, but I just wanted her to be better -- to feel better, to have a small measure of comfort and peace in her life. The cancer denied all comfort and peace. And she -- she fought SO hard, clung so tenaciously to life, willed her body to face the pain and get through it -- she denied that the cancer was winning. My trust in the pain meds brought suspicion. My trust in the doctors brought derision. My trust in my own capabilities and intelligence disappeared.

I was not myself. She was not the Kris I knew. Somehow through it all we put the differences aside and trusted each other to stay on script, to hit our marks, and to stay in character until the curtain fell.

That was what a lot of my grief was -- processing the hurtful remarks (hers), the muttered-under-the-breath epithets (mine), and the moments of grace where we held each other and cried.

I'm not done yet. I'm crying as I type this. But I am better. I miss her desperately. I think of her every day. I keep thinking about it, trying to put my anger and hers into perspective. I think about what she went through and how I wish I could have done more. I think of the times she thanked me and said she knew I would come and that she only wanted me at the end. I know that she did all she could to stay. She knew I did all I could to keep her here.

I guess for now it's enough to know that. The rest will come in time.

And I will miss her forever.


  1. I can't tell you how touching I found this. So completely honest - thank you Jennifer. Death really sucks. : ( Again, I am very sorry for your loss.

  2. Anonymous10:00 AM

    I just read Lionel Shriver's SO MUCH FOR THAT yesterday, found your blog today, and what you wrote about your friend is exactly what that book is about. Maybe it's one of those synchronicity events and you are meant to read it. Maybe not.