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Abby’s Angle - October 2019

01 Oct 2019

The past two weeks have been hell. They have been absolutely the most painful, confronting and terrifying few weeks.

They were expected, in some ways, but still arrived far too early. After a year of fearing that this would be the inevitable outcome, we were not prepared for the brutality and finality of these weeks. The sadness has been unbearable, the grief has been almost too heavy to bear, yet even through this heavy fog of despair there have been rainbows.

My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 months, two weeks and one day before she died. It had spread to her lungs in the last month, and the end came hurtling towards us in a rush of unfinished letters, unspoken words and utter terror.

Her sister, her cousin and I took “shifts” of sleeping in intensive care beside her, holding her hand and talking her through the night, while her four young darling children and husband rallied by her side through the day. Where could these rainbows possibly be, I hear you say ...

The strength and determination of my beautiful friend; she battled well. Medical expertise had her likely to leave us in minutes, but she fought her way from the depths of wherever she had gone and opened her eyes and saw her four children and husband. She held their hands, she calmly breathed and she, without speaking, told each of them how much she loved them. She gave them the greatest gift, of several hours of calm and nurturing closure. And then she closed her eyes, for the last time while here in this realm.

Other rainbows appeared. She had established a cause months earlier to have our own localised Love Your Sister fundraiser. By the time of her funeral, a week later, it had exceeded her goal and reached over $30,000 of much-needed funds that will be 100 per cent used for cancer research as she was passionate that others should not walk the treacherous path that she had found herself on. I am on the committee of this endeavour, and we have a goal to reach $200,000 within a year.

And rainbows appeared through the eulogies, through remembering all that she stood for, all that she gave, and all that she loved. It was a simple message: love well, don’t wait to live, and that it takes a village to raise our children. I’ve found myself questioning the way I am living, the balance that I have in my life – and I am determined to love more, to laugh more and to make more beautiful memories. Because when our time comes to go – and it will – it is the people in your life and the time you spent with them that counts.

So, check your boobs, check your balls, check all of your bits. Don’t put off what you want to do, life is too bloody short. Make life personal, make it work your way, find the balance that’s right for you. I’ve been writing about “What Women Want” for more than a decade … and I’ve learnt this – what women want is to be remembered for who they are, for what they have achieved. It’s personal, it’s unique – it’s about you. So, I would like to now write “Abby’s Angle”, in recognition and respect for all our beautiful, powerful, glorious uniqueness. I would like to ask that we collectively tell stories, we encourage and empower each other, as individuals together. For there will be many dark days ahead, and I hope together we can remind each other of the rainbows that emerge even in the scariest storm.

So, my angle on this is that I believe the greatest achievement I could hope for, is to be remembered for the love I have given. And I know I need to do a lot of work around this, and I need to re-balance my life for this to be achieved. And as the writer of this column, my greatest hope would be for this story sharing to help you quietly question if you are living your best life. We all have the time to change it if we are not.

With much love to you all this month, may our collective voices help us to find the most glorious path that can be found and to help each other steer through the dark days.

Abby xx

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