The One Not There Next Year, redux

For those who missed it, my last post was about how treatment would be keeping me from going to the Living Beyond Breast Cancer Thriving Together conference this year, and how we never know who will be too sick/too broke/too dead to attend next year’s conference, and how we’re scared it’ll be us. I wrote about how a friend of mine had cried at last year’s conference and said “I’m the one who won’t be here next year,” and how, in the end, it was me who wouldn’t be there, and her who would be–she had made plans to travel there with her mom as her caregiver.

The best laid plans.

That friend was Mandi Hudson, of Darn Good Lemonade, and she died this week. 

I don’t have words. I didn’t realize it was possible to feel this empty.

And ironically, my platelets were too low for chemo last week, so my schedule is bumped by a week, making LBBC weekend a real possibility for me instead of a pipe dream. So, I booked myself a ticket and a hotel room, both refundable in case my body refuses to cooperate, and I’m planning to be there. If there is anything Mandi has taught me over the years, it’s to not let this disease steal more from us than absolutely necessary–to figure out a way to do the things that are important to us, even if they seem difficult. And seeing my friends, some of whom I’ll never see in person again, is important to me.

Lately I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack nonstop (The Girl loves The Schuyler Sisters) and the song Wait For It keeps running through my head. “Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes, and we keep living anyway, we rise and we fall and we break and we make our mistakes…and if there’s a reason I’m still alive when so many have died, I’m willing to wait for it. I’m willing to wait for it.”

I’m still waiting for it. But I’m writing like I’m running out of time.

If you’re anywhere near Philadelphia on April 29, even if you can’t come for the LBBC conference, please come meet up with me and METUP for the third annual Philly die-in. You can find event details here