This morning I woke up and read a post on Facebook from my friend, Andy. His tough little wife, Briar, is at the end of a long battle with a vindictive form of brain cancer and no longer responsive. I have struggled with what to write for the past couple weeks while my heart has been heavy. Today I knew I needed to repost something I wrote on my previous blog on March 7, 2012.
I remember the day; the smell of the hospital, Briar’s hands and the overwhelming feelings of helplessness.
I was gifted with this woman’s friendship and I hope her next adventure is pure love and grace. I wish immeasurable strength to her husband as he says his goodbyes.
Wherever you are in the world today, please love on the people you love.
Let me tell you about my friend.
I’ve used an alias for her in the past because she’s bigger than life and during the day she’s a professional. During the rest of her hours she’s a badass. She climbs mountains, repels down caverns, challenges my husband to push up contests and is the hardest, toughest and most amazing mountain biker you’ve ever met. While I read a book and promise to meet up for dinner she’s adding bruises to her shins and making Trevor cry when she beats him down a mountain.
Today she is lying in the ICU unit of a local hospital and it doesn’t make sense.
Last week we sat around, glasses of wine in hand and I was jealous of her faith in a God I’ve long forgotten. Today she made me pray to Him. After apologizing for my tardiness and kvetching over whether He would be willing to have a chat, I asked Him to look after her, make her wake up, make her whole.
Last week we joked about her migraines, the tumor she was sure she had growing on her brain, her promise to sit down with Livi if Trevor and I are to pass at the same time and make sure our wishes are met, Livi well taken care of, a trust set up, a promise, her promise.
Tonight I held her hand, wishing she’d squeeze it, wishing she’d give us a sign she’s in there somewhere and begged her to wake up because if she doesn’t teach Livi how to be a badass woman, who will? I can teach her about shoes and makeup, but who will teach her to ice climb, ride a bike over rocks so boys weep in her dust?
Who, I ask?
My little friend Briar, who has tiny freckles dotting her wrist, hands soft when you expect them to be calloused from all of her badassness.
No one else.
She’s sleeping in there somewhere and tomorrow the tumor she joked about, the one that turned out to be real, will be removed. She squeezed a hand tonight on request. Word on the street is she wiggled her toes after I was kicked out by a mean, rule-abiding nurse.
Word on the street is she is tougher than this thing in her that is unwelcome.
But, we already knew that.
As a girl afraid of God, I find it odd, but here I am asking you to please pray for my little friend with all the badass stories who is not supposed to be in the hospital. We are not supposed to be talking about the things we are talking about. Not yet.
She is supposed to be awake, cursing this stupid thing on her brain. After all, she asked her neurologist if she could still go on her rock climbing trip with Trevor and her husband, Andy, that was planned for later this month prior to the big, deep sleep that threw us all for a loop.
That’s our Briar.
Wake up, sweet Briar. Get mad at this thing so we can all go back to normal and stop being big grown ups. We’ll help you fight it.