One of the most wonderful things to come out of being diagnosed with cancer in 2013 was meeting someone else with the same rare form of cancer. Actually she found me. Babs searched the internet and could not find a single survivor to talk to. Her friend, Monica decided she was going to find one because Babs deserved it. And needed it. And Monica did! It was me 🙂
So Babs and I felt like long-lost sisters and bonded immediately. We had been through the same chemo and radiation treatments, same side effects, same debilitating pain. In unspoken ways we were bonded with a ‘knowingness’. We also talked about our mutual love of the beach and how we both felt healing there, body and soul. Mostly soul. She invited me to come visit her and her husband in San Luis Obispo, Ca. and we made it happen in December 2016.
Yes it was December but that didn’t stop us from going to the beach for the day. She in her Santa hat and me in my black poncho, we went and sat in the swings at Avila Beach. It was wonderful. It brought tears to my eyes to be there with her. We didn’t say a lot, but my heart was so full. Just taking it all in. It is a favorite memory of mine from the trip.
A few days ago her son, who is a firefighter, took his parents out for brunch and they went to Avila Beach. While there he spotted some artwork for sale by a local artist. He told his mom to pick one out and she was immediately drawn to the one of the swings and he got it for her. Babs wrote me later in a note, “These swings are you and me, Jami…loving the beach.”
Before they left she told her son the story of the swings and why she picked that one. He slipped away for a few minutes and returned with a painting just like hers for me. Her son said, “This needs to go to Jami.” And Babs agreed. She sent it to me with a note explaining how it came to be and added, “Sweetheart, love it just like I do mine.”
This painting symbolizes hope to me. Surviving devastation and getting to take in the beauty of the sight, sound and smell of the waves. Quiet reflection of the past and hope for the future. And as we swung on the swings like little girls, God gave us a lasting memory. Now symbolized in artwork of those swings.