Like a House on Fire!
Postcards from Italy: Firenze, Part 2

Words . . . with Impact


First, two facts:

  1. Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of my first chemo treatment.
  2. I am struggling with a big decision I need to make; one that involves priorities and decisions about how I want to live my life; one that isn't easy for me.

Next, the backstory:

Last March, I received an email from Dana, a blog-reader.  She let me know how much my story meant to her.  She told me that she wanted me to understand the "the impact your blog and willingness to share your experiences has made on a stranger's life."  She also told me that she was embarking on her first chemo treatment the next day.

We began a correspondence.

Now, to yesterday:

Yesterday was a rather difficult day for me.  Like I mentioned above, I am struggling with a decision.  In my heart, I know what I'm going to do, but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do it yet. (And that's the hardest part.)  And, in my head, I kept circling back to starting chemo six years ago . . . and how cancer changed my way of thinking about the world and my place in it . . . and how, now, I'd slid back to the "before" . . . losing sight of my own priorities and getting swept up in the drama around me.

And then, before I went to bed, I opened my email.

And there it was.

An email from Dana's husband.  He wanted to let me know that Dana had passed away in late August. He said the chemotherapy was just never effective in stopping the advance of her cancer.  He wanted me to know that I "had made a difference in Dana's life and helped her from a distance at a time she needed it most."

I came undone.

It is overwhelming ... the power of words.

I can't help but think that, on that particular day at that particular time, his words were the words I needed most.  It was like Dana was reaching out and reminding me, "Girl. Where are your priorities? You don't have forever."

Words. . . with impact.



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Oh, Kym. I'm so sorry about your friend Dana. I know, though, that you must have helped her because you have helped me. Your kindness and compassion and frank way of looking at the world are a gift to all of us. I hope that carrying out this decision (which I will admit I am very curious about) will be easier than you anticipate. Love you.


Oh, tears in my eyes. I'm so sorry for Dana's family; glad that her husband reached out to let you know what happened.

"...slid back to the 'before'..."

I hope it's easier than you think to leave the before behind you. :)


Dana's husband must have known how much your correspondence meant to her and that you needed to know she was gone. Tears run down my face and my heart breaks for your loss, Kym.
It's time for you to do what you need to do for you. It will feel so good to be free.


Wow...crying at work over this and wanting to reach out and give you a hug. And know, that we're all here for you as you make this difficult dcision. xoxo


I wish I was more eloquent, but I'm not, so I'm sending you a Robert Frost poem that I read when I have to make difficult decisions:
I'm thinking of Dana and her family, and you.


You've been through so much over the last several years, and you know in your heart how you want to live in the years to come. Your sorrow over Dana's death has only helped to clarify this vision. Once you move on you'll feel so much better, lighter and full of life. Can't wait to see where your new journey will take you!!


I'm so sorry about your friend's death. Once again, your words are making a difference. I sense a wonderful new adventure that is about to begin.


I am very sorry about the death of your friend; I'm sure you brought her great comfort. I wish you well with whatever is ahead for you.

Cheryl S.

Wow. Definitely words with impact.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, and best wishes for you and your decision.

Sue N

Your words and pictures are always perfectly balanced and a joy to read you are a brilliant communicator. I hope your decision involves writing.

So sorry about Dana it must be especially poignant for you at this time, thinking about what could have happened.

Hugs to you Kym and also your lovely family x

Barbara S

What wonderful timing that Dana's husband sent you the email when you needed her message. I'm sorry, Kym, that you lost a friend. It's nice to know, though, that your words had meaning for Dana and helped her. Good luck to you in making your big decision; I'm sure you'll go with your heart.


Words are so meaningful ... I'm glad yours touched Dana's heart in a way her family will remember. And a warm hug to you for that important role you played (are playing?) in their lives. xxoo.


First, my condolences on your loss. Writing is so powerful. And, my joy that your treatment was successful.


Dear Kym, My heart aches for your loss. Oftentimes, getting to 'know' someone via the internet and the written word makes the whole relationship resonate more in our hearts, don't you think? I spent half of October back east with my older sister, who passed away from breast cancer, complicated by later stage Parkinson's. All we can do is remind ourselves continually to be in the moment and savor it when we are able. I know your decision, monumental as it is for you, will be the right one and help you live your truth. You are an inspiration to me, God Bless.


My sympathies to you and Dana's family.
Hard decisions are well...hard. But your heart knows what you want/need to do. Follow your heart.


Even though we don't know each other, I feel that we do, since we have so many common friends. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Big decisions are so hard. Wishing you strengh and clarity as you move forward.

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