A few months ago, I wrote this entry about my friend Naomi. Late last night, my beautiful friend passed away, leaving many people to mourn the loss of a truly amazing woman.
I have thought of Naomi non-stop over the past several months, as her health began to deteriorate. I have missed her texts, and emails, and our lunch dates. I have sat at my computer at night, reading through all our old messages from the earlier cancer days, and looking through her photos, and praying for miracles.
Naomi and I had a truly unique friendship. Having “cancer friends” is a bond that only other “cancer friends” can really understand. Our friendship was not at all typical in any way. I have “hung out” with Naomi more times in the hospital than out of it. Our text messages and emails, although sometimes about work, family, etc., were most often about our cancer lives. Our lives.
We’d discuss arm exercises, and radiation CT’s, and MRI machines, and plan quick meet-ups in the waiting room. We talked about our hair and compared its post-chemo growth. I was completely jealous that Naomi’s hair and lashes were coming back so quickly. And she would assure me that mine would come back soon. I have sat with Naomi in the emergency room, helped her to the bathroom, changed her clothes for her (the end of one of her last emails to me was: Also, I realized that you and your mom both saw my bare ass at the hospital! Oh the indignities!). When the MRI tech asked questions about breast-feeding, we both looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Hello, we don’t have breasts! We understood each other in this way. Our secret friendship club.
The first week that Naomi and I started emailing each other, before actually meeting in person, I felt like a giddy teenager. My heart would skip a beat when I saw I had a new email from her, as we would write lengthy messages back and forth, talking about our treatments, our husbands, and how much cancer sucked. I was so happy I found her, even more so when I learned about her academic background and her general interests and realized we would totally be awesome friends in the real, non-cancer world. But sadly, we never really got to the non-cancer world together. Cancer was always there, until the very end.
I remember the first time I met Naomi in person, at a lunch spot near the hospital, in between our appointments. She was sitting on a bench in the sun, in a bright red coat. She looked so beautiful. Naomi had this amazing aura about her. She was so cool, and peaceful, and smart. I looked up to her. Even facing a tough prognosis, she always had so much hope. Her hope gave me hope. I was in awe of her.
When we would write to each other about our fears, she wrote to me: Focus on what’s happening now. The future will come when it’s ready, and it’s so hard to predict what life is going to bring. I loved her way of thinking, and her way with words. She always lifted me up, even when she was down.
I am so angry at cancer, for taking a wife from her husband, a young mom from her son… a daughter, a sister, a friend. It is all terribly unfair. But anger won’t bring her back, and it won’t take anyone’s pain away. So instead I will choose to think of all the good she brought into the world while she was here, and into my world, and how lucky I was to have known her for a short while. She was truly an angel.
My heart is with her family. I hope they know how much joy she brought to everyone who knew her and the impact she had on so many people’s lives.
On my life.
18 thoughts on “Naomi Angel”
What an amazing women. Wow! She truly is an inspiration im so sad to hear she’s not made it through to the other side with you. I hope your okay and can grieve for what seems, a truly magnificent beautiful stylish women 💗 i am just so sorry to read this.
the comment/advice she gave you…about the future. I have taken that with me, she truly was a intelligent women and her willingness to give hope has continued even beyond this world she has left. For reading that hope she gave you, i felt the hope suddenly rush through my own body. She seemed so wise… Reading this all, has brought me to tears. I hope her family make it through such a tragic time 💗
Steph, I am so sorry to hear about your friend Naomi. I hope you have the time, space, and support to grieve.
I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I going through breast cancer too and I read your blogs. Your words are beautiful and inspiring. Naomi was lucky to have such a wonderful friend. Stay strong ❤
I am shocked and saddened to learn about your friend’s passing. I learned about her blog thanks to yours, and I was deeply moved by the quiet love that radiated out of every one of her posts.
I recognized her at an orientation session in December, and I thought to myself how pretty she looked. I never suspected that she was in the midst of a relapse.
You must feel so fortunate to have known her as a friend. I am so sorry for your loss.
May her memory be for a blessing.
There are friends, and then there are kindred friends. I never know what to say to someone who has had this kind of a loss – how to do you fill that kind of empty space with words? I don’t know. I am truly sorry though. I can’t imagine what it would be like to share that kind of connection with someone and lose them, but I hope you can still find encouragement from her words. She seemed like a really beautiful and special person.
Wow -thank you so much for posting such immensely moving and inspiring words. I don’t know you or Naomi but as I read through your amazing blog and reflect on my own experiences I cannot help but be deeply moved, inspired, touched, and awestruck by both of your fortitude and awesomeness.
I hope you will keep writing, fighting, dancing, laughing and being such an incredible inspiration to so many women. I’m deeply sorry for the loss of such a beautiful woman.
Thank you for sharing.
This just sucks. I’m so sorry for your loss and Naomi’s family’s loss. As survivors we can be cruising right along living life post cancer/treatment and then we hear of a reoccurrence/death and it just freezes us in our tracks. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Lots of love to you today and forward. Xoxo. Michele
I’m so sorry for your loss. I was a reader of hers. she seemed to have the kindest heart. my heart breaks for her husband and little boy. you are very lucky to have had her in your life.
I am so sorry to hear about your friend, I am sure u must b devastated
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That was a beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss and for the loss to her family.
I am so sorry for your loss Stephanie. I too had the pleasure of meeting her at PMH and sharing texts and I am so saddened by her passing. Definitely remembering her in all aspects today, tomorrow and always. She was pure light. I too had a moment where I was able to walk into a room and see her in a beautiful red coat and thought to myself, wow, she looks beautiful and peaceful. I am forever grateful to have met her.
sending heartfelt sympathy and a big hug.
Love to all of you.
I am so so sorry for the loss of your friend Steph. Thinking of you and wishing you comfort during this sad time. ❤ Katie
Beautifully written. I went to high school with Naomi and haven’t seen her in years. I did message her last spring to wish her well and let her know that my little boys, me and my husband were rooting for her. My cousin in law beat breast cancer two years ago and my son’s teacher has also beat breast cancer. Don’t Give up Steph! You can do it too. I am proud of Naomi for being so brave and strong. My heart breaks for her little boy who is missing his mommy. I loved reading about your special friendship with Naomi. She truly was one of a kind. I have never met anyone else like her I my life. I will continue to walk/run the breast cancer run every year with my family. I pray that one day we will b live in a cancer free world! Peace, Good health and Love to you:) Aman
I am so sorry for the passing of Naomi. I met her when I was having my last chemotherapy. She was also on her last one. What a happy and positive young lady. I am saddened for her husband, son and family. .
Stephanie – I am heartbroken just reading about her, so I can’t imagine your grief and that of her family. Thanks for including a photo of Naomi so we can all see that beautiful spirit. Once again, your blog reminds me to forget the pettiness of everyday annoyances and focus on the best of what I have, love, family, friendship, hopefully continued good health, and another day to enjoy it all. I am getting into bed to hug my husband, who royally pissed me off today. And we have you to thank for that!
Just beautiful Steph. I’m sorry for your loss. I lost a gorgeous friend to bc last year – the world is still a better place because she was here and taught us so much by the way she lived her life. I also enjoyed reading Naomi’s blog. Such a beautiful person.