This is a hard post to write.
There is the concept of death, and actual death, and there is a vast difference between the two.
Saturday evening, I was munching on corn chips, sipping on a margarita, listening to old stories at Dan’s 20th high school reunion, when a friend shared that Crush had died. My pulse raced, everything froze, I went deaf, time stopped. In a split second I recorded that I was living, but more importantly, I alive, a luxury she no longer enjoyed. Shocked, I quietly excused myself, weaving through the hall to the bathroom for privacy. I sobbed unabashedly, not caring about the strange women who pretended not to see me. I cried for Crush because she had so much more life to live. I cried for her husband, and friends, and family. I cried for those who love her.
If you’re new to the blog, Katie “Crush” Campbell is a buddy that I met at a young adult cancer camp, First Descents. After rock climbing in Moab, UT, we kept in contact for the past two years, leaning on each other, laughing, supporting. We started a YouTube series this past year, Cancer Convos with Crush & Coconuts. It was short lived, and fun when we started, but it was emotionally exhausting, and eventually it fizzled out. We wanted to inspire and share the nuances of life as a young adult cancer patient – a world most don’t see. But, with our rigorous health demands, we simply couldn’t maintain. And, even though the series ended, we remained friends, with the final text message arriving just Friday night, several hours before her death.
I really don’t have anything eloquent to say, nothing to make this heartbreak any easier. I’m numb now. Confused. I think I’ll always be at a loss about death; I can’t even try to understand the concept.
I recognize the world that I live in. I know that I am in a subgroup of the population that is at a much higher risk of death. That death is expected, but, somehow, that doesn’t make it any easier.
I mourn for my friend Crush. I mourn for her soulmate Andrew, who graciously sent a personal email to me to make sure I was aware. I can’t imagine his grief, his pain.
Crush had a sense of urgency the whole time I knew her, but I never got the feeling that it stemmed from diagnosis, but rather her diagnosis only intensified it. She made things happen. She had an expanded world view, she had seen suffering and cared about the human condition. I have no doubt that she would have continued to change the world, given the chance.
Crush was able to sneak off a book toward the end, which she felt was her legacy. It’s available on Amazon. I believe that her contributions, which are many, will connect her spirit to souls all over the world. She was/is one of the most determined, disciplined, curious, joyful, thought provoking people I’ve ever known.