Friendship and Lifelong Learning

Two weeks ago, on June 18, one of my very best friends lost her battle with cancer.  Only three days from her 34th birthday and 15 months after her original diagnosis, Amy’s courageous fight came to an end.  Fortunately, due to successful early chemo treatments, she was able to return to some sense of normalcy for several months. She went back to work as a nanny, moved back into her Center City apartment, and rejoined our weekly knitting group.  I was able to spend quality time with her and together with our friends. Earlier this spring, I  even shared this blog with her. (She’s cheaky27, my first commenter and only commenter to date). Although I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept that she’s really gone–it’s almost as if she’s still in the hospital in this far off place and I just haven’t seen her in a while–I will remember the wonderful inspirational qualities she demonstrated until her final moments.

Since her diagnosis, Amy created a “hit list” of things she wanted to do, of things to learn, new skills to obtain.  She took an embroidery class, a sewing class, a quilting class.  If I take any lesson away from her illness, it is this:  to live each day to the fullest.  I no longer took for granted the time I spent with her. Because I know I don’t get to see my family very often, I try not to take the time I spend with them for granted either. However, I need to take that attitude into everything I do.  I need to value the time I spend with all my friends and loved ones.

This spring, since the writing class I was supposed to teach didn’t have a large enough enrollment for the class to run, I decided to instead take two classes.  I took Dance Workout and Studio Painting.  In some ways, I think I wanted to take the Studio Painting class as a last hurrah.  It’s probably not a class I should take while pregnant.  And Studio Painting is probably not a class I would or could take while caring for a newborn.  Currently, I’m taking a Travel Photography class–no harsh chemicals in that one. But again, it’s my last chance–not forever, but for now.  I don’t see myself having the free time to take for-fun classes again soon.

Like Amy, I hope to constantly be learning.  I’d like to learn more about:

book arts
paper cutting–silloutes
knitting–bigger more challenging projects
photography–new lenses, always new things to learn
video–I’d like to get a flip camera
interior decorating
real estate
indoor gardening
urban gardening
making beer
the list goes on and on…

I don’t know how to wrap up my feelings of love and loss in a single conclusion sentence.  I will miss that girl and her vibrant, energizing smile, but I will try to focus on Amy’s memory and live the life she would have been excited for me to have.

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