My last regents class was chemistry in 10th grade. I dreaded this after my earth science experience. In lieu of standard desks, we sat at high top tables. Our lab partner sat across from us. On the first day, the desk across from me was empty when I arrived. It filled before the bell with a girl that I knew through mutual friends but wasn’t currently friends with. Truth be told, I was intimidated. She was smart, beautiful and outgoing. She spoke her mind and laughed infectiously. She was now my lab partner and I was scared that I would slow her down.
That year and that class turned out to be one of my favorites. Her & I became fast friends and our chemistry (see what I did there?) during that class was awesome. We laughed at our goof-ups, studied together to pass tests and helped each other on our homework assignments. Something that scared me at first turned into a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t have asked for a better lab partner. We have since lost touch but I remember distinctly how she helped me through those days – especially with her laugh and smile.
Her mother was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer a few years ago. Through a random circle of events, I found that she had posted on The Underbelly (I recognized her name immediately!), which gave me the confidence to do the same. I learned through a mutual friend that she had been visiting Dana Farber for treatments and reached out immediately. We chatted about our experiences and she invited me to be a part of a Facebook page that she was in, one that she thought I would also benefit from. She was incredibly inspirational, funny and so kind. She accepted me immediately and offered advice, support and her sweet words. I instantly fell in love with her and everything that she exemplified – as a person, a woman and a fellow breast cancer fighter. I am honored to have called her my friend.
This morning, I learned that she passed away in her sleep. She fought hard past the life expectancy and survived around 46 months. Despite scans that looked good sometimes and not others, she embraced all that life had to offer. She didn’t let anything hold her down or back. When it became difficult to walk, she used a cane or a wheelchair to ensure that she did not miss out on making memories. Her positive outlook and loving spirit drew people into her and made her so easy to love.
I did not have the privilege of meeting her in person but I knew her daughter. And I know that she instilled that same infectious laugh and genuine kindness in her too.
You will be missed, Lynn. Enjoy those purple sunsets and watch over us all until we one day meet.