Friday, May 20, 2016

A Dog in the Sun

Like so many of you, I've been thinking a lot about Jody Schoger these days.  She was one of the first breast cancer bloggers I discovered back when I was consumed by it all.  Of course, I was inspired by her tireless advocacy, but it was her encouragement I embraced.  She read my words when I tentatively sent them out there and without being asked, offered constructive comments and feedback, ways to "increase my traffic."
 
Sometimes, she'd just say "Good work. Keep it up."  I didn't know I was writing toward a bigger goal, but she did.  How did she know without ever meeting me that I needed to hear those things?

She wrote me when my dog, Goliath, died.  She said she cried for him, for me and wrote:  

"Goliath - in his name and bearing - enriched all of us. He went beyond your family into our hearts, too."  

And that's how I feel about Jody.  Beyond the amazing work she did alone and with Alicia Staley and Dr. Deanna Attai to create #BCSM.  She touched me with her laser-like ability to discover what mattered most; my family, my story, my need to share.

She went beyond her family into our hearts  

In the six years I knew Jody, we never actually met.  That's hard to even say because...I knew her...and she seemed to know me.  After reading something I wrote, she'd take time from her days to message or tweet some thought to make me smile or laugh.  

Amazing.  Who does that?   

I think, now, I took much more than I gave, but that was the role she played.  Mentor, big sister, keeping an eye on our little corner of the blogosphere.  How will it go on, I wonder?  Those thoughts were my focus when I found out she was gone.

I stood in my kitchen making dinner that day, pondering.  My family was in the next room.  My thoughts about Jody, my own, because how do I explain this feeling of loss for someone I never "really" met?  

I remembered one of the last messages she ever sent me.  I had asked her about Femara and she wrote back about some intimate side effects and some solutions. Regarding the solutions, she said to do it and enjoy my life.  It's almost cliche, but it's true.  That's the very last thing she ever wrote me.  

I smiled thinking about that.  Maybe it's not the big picture we're supposed to focus on.  Maybe it does start with enjoying our own lives.   Maybe it has to be in order for all other things to fall into place.  Jody probably knew that.

I became aware of the view outside my window. The winter had been so long. The sun had finally found it's way back to Connecticut and the world was green again.  I thought how Jody loved to walk with her dog in the Texas sun.  I saw my new dog at my feet and my family nearby, happily absorbed in their videos and computers.  I thought about how it was finally feeling like spring and how lucky I was to have "met" Jody.  How lucky our breast cancer community was to have her and how future patients will benefit from her work.

I'm thankful Jody's family shared her and so sorry for their tremendous loss, but
she knew what she was talking about when 
she said Goliath went beyond my family. 

Jody went beyond hers.  

Jody, I will miss you and smile every time I see my dog in the sun.