Two sentences. Eight words. In the grand scheme of things, in an age when words get tossed about like scraps of litter, those few words don’t seem like a big deal, scarcely worth noticing. However, I don’t think a single day has gone by since I received the text message containing those two simple sentences when I haven’t thought about the two sentences. They say so little, yet convey so much about the person who sent them. The sender was my good friend, Leontien. The text was beamed to my phone two days after she learned the melanoma cancer she’d been fighting for years had moved into her brain.
I still find it impossible to think of my good friend Leontien without also thinking about laughter and a real zest for life. The sheer joy she always seems to get form life has always been a trait I admire. When I’m being completely honest, I’ll even admit to some envious twinges. I wish I could see the world through her eyes, to experience the same joy she always seems to find, and had her ability to look challenges in the eye. Even when she was exasperated or annoyed, Leontien’s anger seems to have a humorous quality.
I can’t think of a single memory I have of Leontien, whether it’s doing a rain dance because she was tired of haying, watching her laugh and hug her horse and dog, working with her family to create a dairy farm, or sitting the passenger seat while we drove from one fast food restaurant to another when she’s not overflowing with life. Even her writing, the stories she posts to her blog, radiate delight. I have a difficult time reconciling my memories and impressions of Leo someone struggling with cancer. People so full of life and joy should not be connected with anything dark and nasty like cancer.
As much as I admire the joyous way Leontien attacks life, I can’t think of a word strong enough, deep enough, to describe how I feel about her ability to handle cancer, family, and life. I always knew she was both strong and caring, but I had no idea exactly how much. I, along with two other good friends, visited Leontien last spring, and her generosity and cheerfulness blew my mind. I was, am, humbled. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to call someone as special, brave, and lovely as Leontien friend. I hope tomorrow and all the days after overflow with good things for Leontien, I can’t think of anyone more deserving.
“Don’t worry or be sad. Everything will be alright.”
This should have been posted a week ago as part of the Leaves for Leontien blog hop, hosted by A Rural Journey. I had a hard time trying to figure out what to say, hence the delay.