Two weeks after my wig shopping debacle, my phone rang and the sweetest, calmest voice on the other end said, “Hi Mo, my name is Cathy . . . . .” Cathy is the woman who my friend Liz had suggested I call because she was also struggling with cancer and Liz thought we might connect with our stories.
We spent some time telling bits and pieces of our stories to each other, and because it was so fresh in my mind, I blurted out the story of shopping for a wig and how horrible the whole experience had been, regardless of the fact I had set out with a good mindset.
I have no idea, absolutely no recollection, of what Cathy said to me, but I do know it was the kindest, most compassionate, understanding and loving thing that anyone could have ever said to me. When I think back to that phone call today, I still get that same feeling I got the day of the actual call. She just knew EXACTLY, and I do mean EXACTLY what to say and how to say it and I clearly remember hanging up the phone after our talk, feeling a strong sense of renewal to be able to fight this cancer and overcome whatever may come my way as I fought the battle.
Cathy and I wrote back and forth several times after that phone call. I received a card from her one day, stating that she would be attending the Relay for Life at a local high school, as her doctor and nurses were organizing a team and she would be participating with them. I excitedly wrote back to her, telling her that I would be at the same event because my niece was a student at that high school and organizing a team of her own. I was finally going to meet Cathy!
For those weeks that followed, leading up to the event, I was like a little girl anticipating Christmas, counting down the days, unable to sleep well at night, trying to fill my days with activities to make the time go faster.
The morning of the event finally arrived and I was ready to go! The relay was already in full swing when I arrived and I walked around looking for my niece and her mom. I found them on the opposite side of the track, dropped my things at their tent, and started to walk some laps with them. As we circled the track, I spotted Cathy’s team under their tent and went over to ask if she had arrived yet. No one had seen her so I continued on with my walking crew.
After an hour or so, I set out for a few laps on my own. As I turned a corner of the track, I looked up and saw a blonde haired, bright eyed woman walking toward me. Cathy and I had never met each other, but I remember the look she had on her face when she looked at me and a huge smile spread across my face as I looked at her. We ran to each other and gave each other the biggest bear hug I have ever experienced! We each just knew that the other person was who we expected that person to be! I swear that hug gave both of us the energy we needed to conquer our cancer once and for all that very day!
It was like meeting God! If there was ever a moment that I felt like I met God face to face, that was it! I don’t know why. I can’t explain it any other way. It was just that incredible! Cathy had a calm about her, yet her zest for life was evident from the second I met her. She had the most positive vibrations exuding from her, even though she was feeling rundown from her treatment the previous day. Her smile literally made her whole face glow on that gloomy, rainy day. I instantly felt her energy fill my body with a renewed sense of strength and feeling of “I can do this!”
We spent the entire day together, sharing our stories, talking about our families, connecting some of the same people we happened to know. We took our victory lap together, arm in arm, around the track, laughing about ridiculous things that had happened during our treatments. We shared stories of pain and sickness that were inevitable given our treatments. We laughed, we cried, we connected on a level that I had never connected on before, with anyone else. We became soul sisters that day.
When it came time to leave, it was very evident how tired and rundown Cathy was, so it was a pretty quick goodbye, but with the promise that we would see each other again very soon. We gave each other a hug and off we went in our separate directions.
I think the relay was in April and we kept in touch pretty regularly from that day. When June rolled around, and school had let out, we made plans to get together at her house, so I could meet her kids and she wouldn’t have to worry about childcare. I anticipated this day with just as much, if not more, excitement than the day we met at the relay.
When I arrived at her house that day, her kids were in the basement, screaming and shouting at each other through an incredibly intense round of Wii Olympics. Cathy and I headed out to her back patio and picked up right where we had left off, as if we had known each other for years and years.
At some point in the conversation, Cathy reached for a small box that was resting on the chair next to her . . . .