Sad news

I found out yesterday that one of my friends died on the weekend.  She was 36.

She was an amazing and vibrant woman, one of those people who really shows you what it means to live every single moment of your life rather than just existing.  I looked up to her because she seemed so brave.  She was the one who told me, “Life is too short to put up with shit.  If you don’t like something, change it.”  I don’t know if this was her personal philosophy because of her personality or because of her brain tumour.

Yes, she lived with a brain tumour, probably since she was a teen.  They found it in her twenties when she finally, in order to humour a friend, went to an optometrist to get her eyes checked, after years of headaches and other things.  The optometrist barred her from leaving her office until she had made an appointment to get an MRI, and that’s when they found her tumour.  Oligodendroglioma.

The other details of her story I won’t relate here.  It’s not my story and she shared it sparingly.  It wasn’t who she was, it was something she had to deal with.  She married her best friend (and partner in crime, I’m sure).  They got their black belts in karate.  They partied and *lived*.  They had a lovely, kick-ass daughter.

In recent years, she had been fighting the brain tumour more, as the pregnancy hormones had not done any favours for it.  When I heard she was going in for brain surgery to try to remove part of it, I started a painting, inspired by her.

I finished that painting on Monday, June 17th.  Something kicked me in the butt and made me take each of the unfinished paintings off the wall, grab a new palette, mix the specific colours necessary and just finish-them-already.  They’re all signed now, and hanging.  I finished “Phoenix Reborn” and contacted our mutual friend to see if she’d gotten any news on how she was doing and whether I would be able to see her to give her the painting.

She had died on June 16th after having spent her last months in palliative care.  A part of me would like to think that it was her spirit who kicked me in the butt, and that was her final gift to me.  Another push past a bit of lethargy and inertia.  She was like that.


Phoenix Reborn, 2013, J.Gibson



4 thoughts on “Sad news

  1. My condolences on the loss of your friend, Jen. It sounds like she had an amazing time here while she could, and may she be an inspiration to many, many people of how to live. Your painting is gorgeous, and a beautiful tribute.

    Hugs, Joy


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