January 19, 2011 will forever be one of the darkest days of my life. I lost a lifelong friend to breast cancer.
Belinda, pictured right, was my best friend for many years. Only it didn't start out that way. We, for reasons that are irrelevant now, did not like each other for many years, but by the time we were sophomores in High School, we had become fast friends.
We played sports together, competed together, worked together, partied together, laughed, cried and laughed some more together. I watched as she had her only child and bravely faced raising him on her own. She and her son were blessed with a wonderful man who loved them both, and the three of them created a life of happiness that only they could have created together.
Strong willed, stubborn and a control freak, Belinda could always do it all. IT. ALL. Everything but beat cancer.
Yesterday, my life got a whole lot emptier.
I'm so sad, I thought I was done crying. I mean, she's at peace. She's no longer in pain. There's no more suffering. Well, at least not for her.
I hope when she was in and out, and almost gone, that she heard me tell her I loved her. I really hope she heard.
Earlier this month, I urged all to educate themselves about breast cancer, treatments, exams and proceeds to help battle cancer. I don't want to lose anyone else to this terrible disease if it can be prevented in any way.
Love your girlfriends, tell them, and tell them often. Tell them even if they won't speak to you (the power of text and email) or if the friendship is so shattered that it cannot be repaired. You know you still love them. So TELL them. Tell them while they know who you still are. Tell them every time you hang up on the phone with them. Tell them every time you part ways with them.
I love you, Belinda, and I will weep for you bitterly. You will always be a shining star, and I will always remember the day this photo was taken and all the memories we shared. It was one hell of a ride. Thanks for taking me along the way.