Though I never asked her how old she was, I know Nancy was close in age to me, graduating from high school in the same year as me. Her daughters are slightly older than my daughters. She was a fellow long term survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, like myself. Also, similar to me, she dealt with a lot of serious health issues related to her treatments for her Hodgkin’s. That is where the similarities will end however. Last week, as has happened with so many other of my fellow long term survivors, Nancy passed away, apparently suddenly. It had been oddly noticed by several of us, that she seemed to be going about her day (as normal as she was able to), as she completed her “Wordle” puzzle and posted her results.
Some time after that, I had begun receiving messages about Nancy’s passing. Clearly, all of us shocked and saddened by someone who not only had so much to offer, but gave everything she could to help all of us. I never got to meet her in person, but she had always offered support to me with all of the surgeries I had faced in recent years, and of course, encouragement through my divorce.
Besides the comfort of knowing that Nancy is no longer struggling with the health issues from her Hodgkin’s past, there is an unbelievable outpouring of kind words being offered by so many, fellow survivors, friends, and family who truly tell the story of who Nancy was, and what she meant to all of us. I would like to share some of those comments (presented with anonymity for privacy reasons).
“So kind and generous…”
“Her legacy will live on through her advocacy…” (besides being involved in peer support with fellow survivors, Nancy was a board member of Hodgkin’s International, a non-profit dedicated to education, advocacy, and support for patients and survivors of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma)
“Someone like me…who understood (what we go through as long term survivors)…kindred. Her faith and patience and wise words calmed my mind and heart often in tumultuous times.”
“A strong spirit… wonderful outlook on life.”
“Grateful for the gift of her in our lives.”
“A beautiful friend.”
“She was good at keep track of us…”
“A big loss for our community.” (her participation on our support pages was invaluable and irreplaceable)
There are literally hundreds of kind and beautiful words and sentiment being offered for Nancy and her family. The grief of her fellow survivors and friends can only mirror in comparison to the family that knew her best and forever in their hearts.
To my fellow long term survivors, each survivor that passes is hard. The upside to having been blessed to know Nancy and having been touched by her kindness and support, is that when the time came, we feel the loss, and yes, we find that we too, may question our longevity. But if there is one thing that we can not only remember Nancy for, but honor her, in that we need to continue what we do every day, for every day that we get to have. Sure, we know the many circumstances we must deal with, but Nancy showed that we can also enjoy life each day, one at a time.