Dear Friends and Followers of Lisa’s blog,
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there haven’t been any recent posts to Lisa’s blogs, Michigoose’s Gander at Quilts & Life and Long Time Living: Living with Breast Cancer. Lisa spent a week in the hospital at the start of October and entered hospice on October 5th. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer the following day. Lisa’s family and close friends were with her and her release from pain was peaceful.
I had texted Lisa as soon as I learned she was in hospice. Lisa’s husband, Carlos, found time to call me and let me speak with Lisa. Though she was unresponsive at the time, I’m certain Lisa heard me, and understood me, as I told her she was widely respected, admired, and loved.
Like many of you, I met Lisa over the internet. I’m not sure how I came across her blog, or how she came across mine, but I’m so thankful we connected. Our friendship started as simple blog comments on art and life. We soon discovered we both had daughters who seemed to be injury-prone and I understood what it meant to have a mother battle breast cancer while I looked on as a teen. Soon our exchanges became more personal. Lisa and I talked on the phone at length, and even managed to meet up at a quilt art conference.
Through our conversations, I got to know more about this incredible woman who shared so much with so many. She was a voice of reason and restraint when it came to debates and lively discussions on quilting group forums. She was a tireless volunteer, pitching in to work at quilting booths and organizing local art groups. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of plant life and a tremendous green thumb. Even when she couldn’t garden as much as she wanted to due to the painful side effects of her cancer treatment she still thought of others, dividing over-reaching plants and sending the extras to liven up new homes. And Lisa never failed to share her knowledge and experience of living with cancer. She offered endless advice on treatments, managing insurance red tape, and the emotional side effects of living with cancer. She understood hope – and believed strongly in the will to survive. Lisa believed strongly that late stage cancer victims needed as much help as those who benefitted from early detection. Lisa didn’t believe in panic; she believed in gathering facts and facing a situation head-on, armed with as positive an attitude as possible and a strong spirit of personal advocacy. Yes, she shared privately how her fingers numbed and wouldn’t cooperate, how her bones ached and her body was weary, but I don’t recall that Lisa ever let that stop her from doing what she set out to do; instead, I watched her implement creative solutions
I know Lisa hoped to be with us longer; there were many things she still wanted to do. However, I also believe that she left us knowing that she fought the good fight longer than anyone ever expected she would. I also know she was thankful for all her experiences and friends. I hope she can take a measure of satisfaction now in knowing how wide a net she cast with her words of wisdom and her friendships.
I miss Lisa terribly, as I’m sure you do as well. I miss our talks, her little quips, her photos of her garden, and her incredible sincerity and empathy as she shared stories of her life. I am eternally thankful to have met her and my life was enriched because of our friendship.
Lisa’s ashes were spread in her beloved Michigan and I’m confident she’s happy to be at rest there. For those who weren’t able to attend her service in Ohio, there will be a memorial on May 17, 2013 at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The time and details have yet to be determined. It is our hope that we’ll be able to arrange a plant and/or bulb exchange among the attendees to celebrate Lisa’s spirit of sharing and giving. Please offer your thoughts and ideas on Lisa’s Facebook page; Lisa’s family and friends will be checking her page periodically.
Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. -- A. A. Milne – a quote that inspired Lisa during her last battle
This message provided by Vivien. Thank you!