Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Monday
    Apr012013

    The Grayest Month

    "As we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose."  ~Author Unknown

    In grade school we are told that “April showers bring May flowers”. In Albany, at this time of the year, at one moment the sky is bright and a vivid blue. The next, everything is gray and then the rain comes. Mud gets all over my good shoes and I spend the morning wiping it from the crevices of my heels. The next day it starts all over again. My brother was born on April 9th and from what I’ve been told, it snowed that day. So, there’s always a possibility of that. It’s just the darkness that gets to me and how we can be on the cusp of tulips and warmth only to have it snatched away by an afternoon rainstorm.

     

    ***

    Maddie died in April. April 7th to be exact. Her mother and I were merely acquaintances at the time. We knew of each other’s blogs but we traveled in different circles I suppose. I met Heather and Mike one day at BlogHer in San Francisco when she came up to introduce herself to another friend at the end of the conference. The day that Madeline died, words ceased to come from me because babies don’t die. They can’t die. But she did. To be fair, I had spent the months prior wrapping my head around the finality of death after the quick succession in loss of my grandmother and then my aunt. But still, at 25, death was something that happened to other people and a far too distant for me. And all at once it was up in my face.

     

    Since then Heather has become my girl. My woman. If I had a boyfriend, that boyfriend would be my Heather. I sometimes wonder what I would think of her now if I had really known her then as I do now. My heart continues to break for her but this is the only Heather (and Mike) that I know. The ones who have gone through immeasurable pain. The ones who have a three year old running around but an urn on their dresser. What I know now about them is that their loss has moved them and forced them to move mountains. My friendship with them makes me want to be better person.

     

    ***

     

    Soon after Maddie’s death, Thalon died. That’s when I said fuck this shit and fuck death. But I tried to keep it to myself. Nothing bad should happen to babies or children; of that I am a firm believer. But there we were again.

     

    ***

     

    It’s April again. How do you explain the people who support you and respond, even when expect nothing but silence? How do you explain to friends and family those in the computer? Friends? Acquaintances? The people who live in the box?


    It’s April again and now there’s Dawn. Dawn isn’t a child but she has children. Dawn is sweet and kind and caring and has your back even if you could just use Google, she’ll tell you what she thinks. She’s good people. Dawn is dying of melanoma. Her husband wonders on Twitter how long it will be now.

     

    It’s April again and my heart hurts and I cannot give you eloquent words on death because they are not there. It’s inevitable. It’s part of living. It really fucking sucks. How about those words? The process, the end, the attempt to come up for air, the attempt to move forward. Heather has told me over and over again that you don’t get over a death, you accept it. She says it so matter of factly, but she’s right.

     

    ***

    I’ve run out of words, well, I can give you another FUCK THIS, FUCK CANCER, but that’s not helpful. In the end I’ve decided on this. Ready?: For every comment I receive here between now and Wednesday at 5 PM (I’m going away hence the short timeframe). I am going to assign one dollar to each comment. I will then split the proceeds of these comments between the March of Dimes and the Melanoma Research Foundation. I’m already going to give to both but hey, I figured we could make this a group activity.

     

    Now I am really out of words. I just hope you’ll join me.

     

    ***

    UPDATE: Dawn is gone now. She's gone. Fuck Cancer.

    You can contribute directly to Mike and her two boys here:


    ***

    UPDATE 2: 145 comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    Reader Comments (145)

    The blessing and the curse of this internet is that we are open to so many relationships now, the pain and joy of them, too.

    We love many of the same people, truly, and I've felt each person's loss you name here in a different, yet similar, way. (Mike and Dawn and I have been Twitter buddies for years. Shana is one of my best people now and I didn't even know her before Thalon died. I didn't know Heather until long after Maddie passed, either. Bananas.)

    I will give dollars too. I'm also raging at April. I'm still grateful we can all be out here for each other in some way. It makes the pain no smaller, but the world does seem that way for a minute.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

    April is absolutely the pits. Thank you for doing this.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLawyerish

    You're a good friend.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

    Fuck cancer, indeed. I watched a friend die of melanoma some years ago and have been following Dawn and Mike with perhaps a bit more foreknowledge than they have. So, so very sad.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy Q

    Fuck seems like an appropriate word. I won't hold April responsible since stupid cancer and death seem to show up when they choose at any time of the year, unwelcome. Sigh. May we all hang in there together for as long as the universe will let us.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

    Good for you for doing this. April is, indeed, the cruelest month in some ways.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlennia

    I'll join you.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDana

    So sorry for your loss.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

    I've lost two girlfriends in the past year to cancer and I say Fuck Cancer. But I also say, you are brave and inspiring for doing this and it does sometimes help to shout it out loud. And to my two girlfriends -- you inspire me to live more fully every day. xoxo

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

    You are awesome.

    April is hard. xoxo

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

    Fuck cancer. I would also remind women to do regular breast self-exams, and to get their annual mammograms if they are of an age where that is recommended.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

    We just lost a much beloved Aunt last week. This disease takes and takes. I don't know how or where it ends. Sending Internet hugs and cyber courage.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrysula

    I read Mike's updates this morning and I am still struggling to find my words. Dawn and I weren't what you'd call super close, but I know she has a kind soul and heart. And yes, fuck cancer.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheAvasmommy

    I'm ver glad there are good people like you to be there for these friends and put into words about Maddie, Thalon and Dawn what I cannot find anywhere, but which profoundly touch me. ❤

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

    I recently made donations to the March of Dimes and the Melanoma Research Foundation to honor Maddie and Dawn as well, but this is such a nice idea, Heather. Thank you!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterQuartCourt

    Hearing about Dawn makes my breath catch in my chest. The unfairness of it all gets to me sometimes, that and the feeling of helplessness. I love this idea so much and I hope you're able to make a sizable donation (without killing your savings account).

    xo

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

    This past weekend, I was clicking through a photo essay. I realized a few frames in that I had seen before. A familiar face, a woman going through cancer treatment, growing weaker, the walker appearing part way through, but still you could see her determination and strength. I stopped on the last few images - images that had not been there the last time I had been directed to the album. I saw the last photo - the back of a hearse - and I realized what had happened since the last time I had looked at those anonymous images. And I grieved. For a woman I did not know - not even a little. I had no knowledge of this beautiful young newlywed, diagnosed a few months after her wedding, other than these handful of photos that I had seen once before. And now she was gone, and I had no chance to learn more. Cancer is bullshit, and it is taking good people every day. The internet is allowing all of us to put very real faces to the names, to offer support to the bereaved, and to donate to organizations that are trying to make a difference. Thanks for this action, Heather. May it inspire others to join you in supporting research so that this disease can lose the power that it has. We've got to be close to beating it, right?

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaffodil Campbell

    Yes, this—all of it.

    You are loved and respected by my daughters, and now by me.
    My heart breaks, as well.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancyedh

    Cancer is cruel and unforgiving. Thank you for fighting back.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

    Fuck April, Fuck children dying and Fuck Cancer!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergorillabuns

    I have hated April for the last 22 years when my father passed away. Fuck April. Fuck cancer.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan

    Thank you for doing this, Heather. And for encouraging us to always remember. And be thankful.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristen Chase

    Sign me in.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Piazza

    April is the birth month of both of my grandfathers. One fought through 4 types of cancer and won. He died of what I firmly believe was a broken heart after my grandmother died.
    The other lost himself to the horrors of parkinsons and alzheimers. April makes me miss them immeasurably.

    You are a good and genuine person. This is a fabulous thing you're doing.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

    Fuck death. Fuck losing people we love. Because it sucks bad.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertrish

    yes.. cancer sucks. bad.

    Sending Dawn and Mike ALL the love and strength I can give.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrissi

    What a kind gesture. The internet can be a beautiful force for beautiful things.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

    I love you. Thank you!!!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterats

    I know of all these people. The interwebs are a huge, and yet intimate place. We "met" Heather our first time walking for the March for Babies. Love that you are doing this.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteramybader

    You're amazing. I don't have the words to describe how terrified I am of cancer. Thank you for your words and your kindness.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

    I agree with the previous poster. I am terrified of cancer. You are right FUCK cancer! Cancer took my brother... He was my oldest brother, my "bubba," my nephew's "unkie" and my mother's first child. So yes cancer sucks!!!!
    I also know Heather and Shana from their blogs and my heart breaks for them. You are an awesome friend!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

    I fucking hate cancer. You, though, are great.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

    Hooray for charitable giving!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfather muskrat

    Fuck cancer indeed! I watched my daughter (16 months old at the time of diagnosis) battle that monster and words cannot express how much I hate that bastard.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle P

    Wishing peace for everyone touched by this. Beautiful post, HB.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkris

    Dawn, Mike & their boys have been in my thoughts for the last few days. There are no words for how unfair this is.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermommabird2345

    You can read my own thoughts on Dawn at my site where I never actually write, but I want to say thank you for doing this for my sister friend.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterliv

    Yesterday I said you were beautiful, but I forget to add "inside and out."

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStefania

    Dawn & Mike are great friends. My heart is so heavy- and the only comfort I can find is in posts like yours. Thank you.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersashalyn

    I'm lucky enough to know Dawn and Mike and their family personally. Like you said, she is good people. She has been there for me in so many ways over the course of the 18 years I have known her and my relationship with her is no more strong than the virtual ones she has with many of you. This really proves that the internet and the friends we make in the glowy box are really bringing us closer together. Making our world a tighter knit unit and benefits so many who might otherwise feel they are alone. Love that you are doing this. I know both charities are ones she feels strongly about.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSunshine

    It was April when I finally decided to have a couple of suspicious spots checked out by my dermatologist. May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and that's when I found out I was sprinkled with melanoma.

    Dawn reached out to me when I decided to drag you all through the journey and explain every detail. She encouraged me to talk it through with y'all. Many of you got your own spots checked out then. That's how this whole storytelling thing works.

    Dawn was right.

    Ain't this a sonofabitch.

    I didn't know about this until just now. Thank you (and Kristen Chase) for the heads up. Off to see Dawn.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan {Velveteen Mind}

    Thank you for doing this.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl

    Fuck cancer indeed.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

    ugh. I am going to have lunch on Friday with my friend Lisa who battled breast cancer and now is having another round. Fuck cancer indeed!!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn B

    I love you.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

    I am so sorry for your losses, and FUck cancer. Thank you for doing this.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

    April is life for me. April is when my son was born. But February is when my mother died of cancer at 61. Fuck cancer, at any time of the year.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    You are awesome. FUCK cancer!

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Smego

    You. Rock.

    April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
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