A Tribute To Lindsay

Heaven

By Rachel Loussaert

On the morning of April 18th, 2016, at just 29 years old, my friend Lindsay was diagnosed with stage 3 Invasive Breast Carcinoma (IBC). By October 16th, just six months later, her cancer had metastasized and her diagnosis changed to stage 4. Between October and February, the cancer continued to spread to her bones, spine, liver, pelvis and femur.

Today is March 7th, and it’s taken this long to really reflect on how I’m feeling / have felt about Lindsay’s passing. The truth is, a part of me never thought I’d have to. Lindsay fought her battle against cancer so courageously that I was convinced we wouldn’t lose her. And sitting here now, knowing that we did, I still struggle to accept it.

When I got the call from Lindsay’s mom on February 1st, letting me know that Lindsay had passed, I had no words. And I felt terrible for that. I wanted to be able to comfort Diane, and say all the right things, and instead I had nothing. In the days that followed, I found it easiest to continue to say nothing. Knowing that if I spoke the words out loud – it would be real.

As the days continued to pass, I drank a lot of wine (out of the coffee mug Lindsay bought me) and attempted to process the fact that my dear friend was no longer with us. I looked at old photos of us, and videos of experiences that we had shared together. I laughed, and cried – a lot. And remained, silent. Because as I mentioned above, for me the silence felt safe.

And now, although some time has passed, I still find myself thinking of Lindsay every day – as I know those that were close to her do too. In certain instances, I find myself wondering if maybe Lindsay is there with me.

Last week I was in Los Cabos, Mexico for a business trip. On Sunday, we went whale watching. It was a miraculous experience, and at the end something incredibly rare happened. 3 male whales began slapping their massive tales against the ocean water, in competition. The sound was so incredible, that it took most everyone’s breath away. It actually moved me to tears because I had never seen, and probably will never see again, anything like it. And in that moment, I knew unequivocally, that Lindsay was there.

The next morning, there was this strange bird perched on my balcony making an awful noise. As I laid there, wishing it would shut up, I could almost hear Lindsay saying, “Rachie, get up an enjoy this beautiful day. Go grab a cock (her word for cocktail) and celebrate life.”

In those moments, I have to admit, I struggle. I wish so badly that Lindsay was there physically. Before Lindsay’s passing, I told my mom that the reason I was so afraid is because there is no one like Lindsay. My friendship with her required no maintenance. It was easy. She made me laugh till my stomach hurt. She made fun of me for being so serious all the time. And even on her worst days (like the day she spent nine hours in chemo) she was worried about me. She always took care of me.

At my wedding, and in the events leading to it, she went above and beyond to make sure I felt special – she took care of me.

When I accepted a new job, she talked through the decision with me, and she told one of my co-workers to watch out for me – she took care of me.

When I made some mistakes early on in my dating life, she’d meet me for happy hour (at the Dam View with a Jager bomb), and she took care of me.

So, as I begin to dig into my feelings, I think a part of me feels like I wasn’t able to take care of her. And that breaks my heart. But beyond just that guilt, I feel a sadness because I miss her. And I want her back. It’s like I crave her, as weird as that sounds.

Since I can’t have her back, I hold tight to all the memories we made. And all the moments we shared. Not only do I hold tight to the memories, but I hold tight to the fact that Lindsay made me who I am. And that is a huge testament to the person she is. Lindsay forced me to be tough. She made me stand up for myself, and helped me find the confidence to rid my life of those things that didn’t make it better. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Every day, when I wake up, I am grateful. I owe Lindsay that. Even on those days that aren’t necessarily good, I am grateful. Because I know Lindsay would jump at the opportunity to take my place. So, that’s how I am going to honor Lindsay. In addition, I’m going to continue to help bring awareness to IBC because it was important to Lindsay, and therefore important to me. Lindsay had zero family history, zero past health issues, zero abnormal exams previously and didn’t even notice a difference in her breast until 6 weeks before she was diagnosed.

Lindsay said to me “I don’t want you to be sad. If God needs me with him, I will be your guardian angel forever.” And I believe that she is. Although she was taken from us way too soon – I know she is still with us. When she visits in dreams, when we hear her in our favorite songs – she is with us. And although the hurt is still there, I think at least for me, the healing can finally begin.


Rachel is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via unsplash}

4 thoughts on “A Tribute To Lindsay

  1. Cheila says:

    This is so sad, to lose such a dear friend to cancer. I know she is in a better place and close to god but I imagine that doesn’t make your pain any smaller. I hope your heart heals! I’m sorry I don’t have anything better to say. xo

    Like

  2. http://www.salpa58.wordpress.com says:

    A beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. I am sorry to hear of your loss.
    Her words; “I don’t want you to be sad. If God needs me with him, I will be your guardian angel forever”, sound like a gift to you from someone that loved you dearly and will now be able to guide for life..

    Like

  3. Spalla says:

    A beautiful tribute to your friend….to a beautiful soul whose light shines so brightly even death cannot take her from those whose hearts she has touched.
    Prayers to you Rachel, to her family, & to her friends…to find strength & peace in those little moments that you have identified to be her presence. I truly believe that is how we can always keep our loved ones near. I know they speak to us in their own way. ❤🙏🏼

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s