Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life without Harmony

When Harmony found me in the giant world of cyberspace I was astounded for not only did we share a cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis but we were only a couple years apart in age (Harmony being about a year and a half younger than me) and we both had a young child. I can't even begin to tell you the astronomical odds that we overcame when Harmony found me, this is a rare cancer and it is even rarer among young women, it truly was a miracle. Harmony and I struck up a friendship fast, both of us eager to have someone who really understands what we are going through we would sometimes trade e-mails multiple times in one day. And though we never actually met each other, Harmony and I became sisters in our fight against this rare and horrible cancer.

Just recently, my dear friend Harmony passed away after courageously battling for 19 months. I am heartbroken. I have no words when people ask me about it, I haven't even allowed myself to think too long about it because I just cry. I know that I never physically met Harmony but we were friends none the less. We shared a bond that is unlike any other I have ever known. When I would talk to Harmony about how I felt or about a treatment I had, she was the only person, that I knew, who could truly say she understood. I could say that my liver hurt (and really, who says that?) and Harmony would know exactly the ache I was talking about. When I needed a cheerleader, Harmony was there. I miss her. I have such wonderful family and friends, and for that I am grateful, but there was no one in my life like Harmony.

Harmony was married to her best friend, Lee, and they have a beautiful little boy named Blane who is 5 years old. Thinking about Blane without his beautiful mommy is overwhelmingly sad for me. It literally makes my heart ache. I know how very much Harmony loved her little boy and that kind of love lives on beyond death. I pray that Blane will always feel Harmony's love for him and that that love and the love of the rest of his family carries him through his rainiest days. I pray too for Harmony's husband, parents, and whole family, the loss of Harmony is overwhelming for me, how much more so must it be for them.

Over the past few years I have lost more than a few, too many, friends to cancer but the loss of Harmony hurts in a way that I find difficult to explain. Harmony had the same cancer that I do and thinking about that just makes me cry. But my tears are not ones born from thinking "that could have been me", no, they are more tears of frustration and not understanding. They are tears of having gone from having a "sister" in this battle who really understands, to feeling more alone than I ever have. There is a Harmony shaped hole in my heart that will never be able to be filled by anyone else. I don't understand and I miss my sister more than words can tell.

Harmony has given me gifts though that not even death can take away from me. No matter what she was going through or how bad she felt, Harmony always had words of encouragement for me. She was ever optimistic, hopeful, and found joy in everything and I found that to be contagious. And the love that Harmony had for her family, for her friends, and for me will stay with me always.

I know that I will feel the loss of my dear friend always, but my memories of Harmony are mine forever and her hope and love are a raft keeping me afloat on the rainiest days when the flood of loss threatens to overwhelm me.


Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

Oh my word. Reading this just makes me ache... for you... for Blane... for Lee. I know Harmony was such a blessing in your life. I wish I had words that could comfort, but everything I can think of just sounds trite or cliche. So I will just say that I am sorry. And I'm praying for all of your affected by the loss of Harmony.

Nadine said...

Rebecca - I'm a gal who's in "the club" who spoke with you at your community yard sale - the one who encouraged you to check out [especially] the children's programs at Wellness Place, in Palatine. Well, I've just started reading your blog, and boy - do you write beautifully. It's as if you're talking right to the I enjoy you peppering facts w/funnies. I look forward to reading more of your posts, and hope you realize what an inspiration you are. You being a teacher, I hesitate writing much more, for fear you'll be tempted to hold onto a red marker as you're reading my entry! Take care, girl.