Guest Thoughts On A Survivor
A little over a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a tribute for a fellow long term survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who had passed away, following a stay in the hospital due to an injury.
I had received so many comments about Kimbra’s passing, that I wanted to share some of those comments. You see, when I write about a fellow survivor, it is simply from my perspective. I do not think for one moment ever that I am the only survivor that someone has touched, because as I struggle with my own emotions in the passing, I often do not get to appreciate the beautiful words, even more so, the beautiful ways that someone has had an impact on someone else. It was really overwhelming to see all of the warm words offered for our fellow survivor Kimbra.
I have been at this a long time, over thirty years. And the longer I am in this, the more survivors I get to meet and learn about. And just when you think you know them, at least within our group, that we all rely on each other, we learn there is just so much more than we thought we knew. With that, I would like to share with you, some of the words of consolation, grief, and inspiration shared with me for Kimbra, from the words of her fellow survivors.
Yesterday another friend who is also a Hodgkin survivor diagnosed prior to age 18 died unexpectedly. Kimbra was kind, loving, helpful to others, and after a career as a medical librarian, was a wealth of knowledge to our group. In honor of Kimbra’s life, I share this personal essay I wrote that was published three weeks ago in the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JACC). Here’s an excerpt: “Two important mentors from the online Hodgkin group have given me hope in spite of an uncertain future. Dave (from Australia) and Dolly (from Texas) taught me how to face death: to speak of it openly, and to love with an open heart. They each wrote of savoring life moment by moment, and each lived fully and courageously to the end of their lives. From them I learned that someday we will die, but on all the other days, we will not. The key is to keep that balance in perspective. They showed me that among the collateral damage there is a certain collateral beauty: although we may not be cured, we can be healed.” Kimbra’s friendship is one of those collateral beauties.
(I am posting the actual link to the JACC story that Susan wrote)
I’ll miss her spirit here in our groups she helped us all with kind encouragement and vast knowledge. I’ll miss our late night chats.
Rest easy now, my sister in Hodgkins….you fought the good fight and your words/deeds will be defined by your life, not by what happened to you.
We were all touched by her beautiful soul. The giver of knowledge and the seeker of light. May all who loved her especially family and friends remember the special gift bestowed on each of you…she survived and will always be a survivor in our hearts and souls.
She was a true friend to many.
I’ve met survivors in all sorts of settings over the years. Yet, none have I ever become so close with so quickly as Kimbra. We had several long late night chats early on after we connected in another HL survivor Facebook group. I learned so much about HL survivorship from her and always appreciated her humor, love of literature and caring and helpful attitude. I am lucky to have gotten to know her. I will miss her and clearly she will be missed by others she knew in-person and online.
There are so many more. But you get the idea. On our support pages, our numbers are in the hundreds. And while many many not write, just read, each and every one has an impact on us at one point or another. It is an even bigger blessing if that impact was personal.
Kimbra is now among so many that I have had to say goodbye to over the years. It does not get any easier. And in a way that I think Kimbra would want, as others before her, our emotional reliance on each other only gets stronger as does the bonds between us. Whether we offer words of encouragement to each other, or have an experience that might give a potential direction to deal with one of our unusual health situations, it is survivors like Kimbra that keep us going.