Adulthood, Bad Day, Cancer, Grief, RealTalk

The sun doesn’t shine quite as bright anymore…

Yes, I suppose the past few days have just been overcast and rainy. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but it sure feels like it’s because she’s gone. The loss of someone so young is heart wrenching, and watching a friend lose his wife and the mother of his two young boys has been doubly painful, even from afar. 

This is a good time, or as good a time as any, to mention that I personally never got the chance to meet Ester Eva. Her husband Spencer is a friend of ours, and they went to school with Dan (a grade or two below) so the circle between us wasn’t far, but when you have a bunch of kids and work and life and everything else, you don’t always get to just hang out like you’d  always like to. God I wish I had gotten to meet her in person just once, because from her YouTube channel to her FB posts to the love her husband, friends, and family had for her – you just knew she was really special and it didn’t take much at all to get that impression. It rubbed off on me so quickly, even never having the chance to physically say hi or get to know her. She was one of the most positive people you’d ever have met though, that I can tell you for sure. She was (as described by her husband) a “free spirit” and anyone close to her has raved about her selflessness, her passion for life and her children, and her caring kind nature toward everyone she met. I feel like I’ve gotten to know her better through the posts of condolence than anything else, which is just as tragic to me as any other part of this story. 

  1. I saw her, despite being 2 1/2 years younger than myself, as a role model: she was one of those organic, clean/healthy/fit eating and living kind of people, kind of crunchy but still down to earth enough to forgive the rest of us who couldn’t live up to those kinds of high standards. I will never forget how devistated I was when Dan told me about her diagnosis, and how I cried for someone I really didn’t even know well, if you could even say I knew her at all. I just knew what kind of person she was, and how fucked up this world was that someone so genuine, so healthy and loving, could end up with the diagnosis of “Stage 4 Stomach Cancer.” When I told my mom she had passed, and why, my mom said (sympathetically, though it still felt blunt), “I’m so sorry hunny…stage 4 is almost always a death sentence.” More tears ensued. It was just so unfair. In EE’s own words in a post telling us all about her condition, she chose not to accept this as a death sentence but rather to fight. I believe that until her dying breath she maintained that mindset. I knew when her husband posted that he had finally gotten to marry the woman of his dreams, a week ahead of schedule, (which was 2 months ahead of their initial plan to begin with) that it couldn’t mean anything good. Not that the marriage – which is one of the sweetest, tenderest, most beautiful loves you could ever wish to even just witness – wasn’t a good thing, of course it was. But the haste and the impromptu date and circumstance, that was what couldn’t have been good. We found out a day or two later that she had passed and the same hole formed in the pit of my own stomach like it had when I saw that post from Spencer, or when I first heard about the cancer at all. 

Life isn’t fair…I remember my parents telling me this from a young age, and I couldn’t even tell you how often I say it to my own son flippantly, about trivial shit that on the long run means nothing but to a five-year-old seems like the world. But unfair is beyond what this is. I’ve gotten my own condolences at work when I’ve tried explaining what happened, why I’ve been teary-eyed or “off” and I feel so selfish every time. I don’t deserve the sorry. I don’t deserve any of it. Shit, Spencer and Othinn and Viktor (and obviously Ester Eva herself) sure as hell don’t deserve any of this, and yet it’s all there. Like it or not. Look at it this way: Princess Diana died and we all felt sad; we all felt that we lost someone we “knew” and we all sat and cried and hashed out our grief about it, but we didn’t walk around saying sorry to each other because of it. So it feels so ingenuine of me to say “thank you” when someone tells me that they’re sorry to hear of it, while at the same time I feel ingenuine if I don’t let myself cry when I’m sad or tell others that I’m having a hard time because of her death, because I am. 

Because at the same time, her diagnosis managed to change me somehow when I learned of it. I think we all have a bit of a Superman complex sometimes, where we don’t think that things like this can really happen to ourselves (or our friends) and that they must just happen to others on some kind of random, sad, unfortunate basis. Not this time. This time it was someone so pure and bright and loving, I just couldn’t fathom how it could possibly be true. I resolved to be better: to love my kids and my life more, to take better care of myself, to be kinder to others. I saw how very many people she had on her side, doing everything they could, and naïvely thought that everything would be fine, because we (well, they, let’s be real…) were raising money for treatments and their wedding and everything that would make it so everyone just lived happily ever after. Denial is such a powerful thing….it works in so many different ways, and while sometimes it can be a bit of a motivator, it can also lead to some pretty crushing defeat. That’s how it felt when I learned she had passed; it felt like defeat. Like no matter how hard you try, no matter how badly you want it, sometimes it will just never be enough. Maybe that’s what is so crushing about it all in the end. Maybe it’s just that it’s sad and there’s no getting around that. One of our friends said to Spencer in a post: “There are no words for your loss and she can’t be replaced, I won’t even try to pretend.” I think that about sums it up for today. 


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