Jan 05

F*ck You Cancer, You Killed My Friend

I’m not sure where to begin or even if I should write this, but writing is the way I deal with things that don’t make sense, and one of my oldest and most life-loving friends dying from cancer, definitely doesn’t make any sense.

I had my usual Monday rundown post all ready to go but, it just seems so pointless now. I can’t be anything other then myself in this space and, right now I feel sad and lost and really, really pissed and couldn’t care less about how many miles I ran last week or what was on TV.

Julie, me and my husband (who was just my boyfriend in this picture) at another good friend's wedding in 2000-something.

Julie, me and my husband (who was just my boyfriend in this picture) at another good friend’s wedding in 2000-something.

As you probably know, ovarian cancer killed my mother in 1993, when she had just turned 43. Cancer claimed my friend Julie’s life this past week at nearly the same age. I was 17 when my mom died and she seemed kind of old to me at the time. Now that one of my friends died close to that age, it seems disgustingly young. I now know what my mom’s friends were going through when she passed. It feels like a kick to the stomach, like an overwhelming sadness and like it could happen to anyone.

I’m reliving my mom’s death all over again, while feeling for the first time the crushing sadness that can only come from something so fucking tragic and senseless, that these words do it no justice. But words and pictures are all I have so I will do my best to honor my friend here. I know she would have approved of the title.

We had years and years of fun together and I'm grateful for it, but it's not enough.

We had years and years of fun together and yes, she’s grabbing my boob in this picture. It happened a lot.

Julie was a swearer, a party girl, a live-out-loud woman who was strong and outspoken. We met where I meet all my best friends – at the gym. Because we shared the same brutal honest way of looking at the world and lived with fervor and passion, we were instant friends. I was at her wedding (and, years later, talked to her though a divorce), I remember when her two sons were born and I even moved into the same neighborhood she and her family lived in. She was a staple at my “girl’s nights,” we drank heavily together every chance we got and our usual response to “how’s it going?” was “I’m just living the dream” with a heavy dose of sarcasm. But really, life was a dream.

I have so many great stories I could share about Julie. When you’re friends with someone as long as we were, there’s a lot of memories. Not all of them are shareable or good but that’s what makes a lasting friendship. However, there is one story in particular that I keep coming back to. It’s a story we would tell over and over as the years passed. It’s the one about how she found out I was pregnant.

Doreen, Julie and I at one of my dad's infamous Christmas parties.

Doreen, Julie and I at one of my dad’s infamous Christmas parties.

In 2008 at eight weeks pregnant, I went for my first doctor appointment. Because they had an ultrasound in the office, they decided to have me do one just to hear the heartbeat and check things out. I protested since I was alone and I didn’t want my husband to miss it. The doctor insisted that it was no big deal and that I would have at least two more when there was much more to see and hear. Well, I got the shock of my life during that ultrasound when I discovered there was not one baby but two! 

I was in a panic and it took me several hours to compose myself and leave the doctor’s office. I had to call my husband and tell him the news over the phone. He was driving and had to pull over. With my head spinning and making rapid-fire phone calls to my closest family, I realized I had to get on with my work day.

At the time I owned a personal training studio and I had a meeting with two men who happened to work at Julie’s office. I was discussing the possibility of me incorporating a health and wellness assessment and plan for their company. Before we started the meeting, and without thinking, I told them I wasn’t sure how productive this meeting was going to be because I had just gotten the absolute shock of my life. I told them the news and then we moved on.

Girls weekend at Mohegan! My friend Tara (who I've known since high school) and Julie.

Girls weekend at Mohegan! My friend Tara (who I’ve known since high school) and Julie.

A little while after the meeting ended, my phone rang and it was Julie. I was still not connecting the dots but she was! Now, I have to remind you that #1 no one even knew I was trying to have a baby, let alone the fact that I was pregnant and #2 absolutely no one but my immediate family knew I was having twins since I had literally found out that day. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hey

Julie: Um, I just heard this really weird story from Jim and Dave that you’re pregnant and with twins. So of course I know this can’t be true because how can two guys who work in my office who don’t even know you, know this news when I, one of your best friends have no fucking clue. Can you explain this please?

Me: OMG Julie I didn’t even think about that and yes it’s true and can you believe it? I’m freaking out, OMG OMG!

And it went on like that. She was laughing and calming me down and for years would tell the story about how Jim and Dave knew about my twin pregnancy before she did. It was a classic.

Doreen, Julie and Bobbi

Doreen, Julie and Bobbi

Six years later I would be calling her and begging her to tell me the news I just heard about her stage four lung cancer being a horrible rumor. Unfortunately it was the beginning of a 10-month nightmare for her.

I’m grateful for her friendship

I’m grateful for the time I had with her

I’m grateful I was able to celebrate one last birthday with her

I’m grateful I was able to see her in the hospital and tell her how much I loved her before she died.

I’m grateful I’m a runner because the only time since hearing of her passing that I felt a little bit ok was on a run

I’m grateful but I’m not happy and I’m not buying into the bullshit of her “being in a better place” because that’s all the same shit people said to me when my mom died. Her place was here and it’s not fair and it’s not right that she’s not here anymore. Like my mom, she made the world a better place and she had so much more life to live.

I will never accept that this happened.

My friend Bobbi's 40th birthday dinner last year. Julie, Doreen, Bobbi and Me

My friend Bobbi’s 40th birthday dinner last year. Julie, Doreen, Bobbi and Me

There’s no need to leave a comment today. I’m writing in this space because this is what I do, and I wanted to share something good and funny and comforting about my friend. I would close comments if I knew how to do that, but I don’t.

Instead of commenting, tell your friends how much you love them and appreciate them, let go of petty disagreements and hug your kids…and then drink a toast to life and to Julie, because that’s what she would do.

I love you girl and will miss you forever.

I love you Julie and will miss you forever.


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  1. Alison

    Oh Allie. I am truly heartbroken for your loss. I am not going to give you platitudes, just my condolences, love, support, friendship, and virtual hugs. You did Julie proud with this wonderful tribute. xoxo
    Alison recently posted…Half MeasuresMy Profile

  2. Janine Huldie

    Aww, Allie I know you said not to leave a comment, but still just cannot express how sorry I am for the loss of your very dear and wonderful friend. Thinking of you today now more then ever and sending tons of virtual hugs and much love your way. xoxo
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Moms Don’t Take Sick DaysMy Profile

  3. Jane

    Hey Allie,
    It is so true,you will miss her forever. After all these years I think of your mom almost daily..sending hugs and love.Jane

  4. Kim

    I can’t read this and not leave a comment – hugs to you, friend!!!
    I’m so sorry that you lost such a wonderful friend to a senseless horrible disease. My heart goes out to her family and to you. I wish that only the evil people in the world would get cancer – it would make so much more sense.
    Glad that you could write about your friend and relive some of the happy memories but I know it doesn’t take away your pain and sadness.
    Kim recently posted…Not Goodbye After allMy Profile

  5. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    Oh Allie, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words. My heart just aches for you and her family. Sending you hugs.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Marinated Olives with a Red Wine VinaigretteMy Profile

  6. Kate

    I’m so, so sorry Allie. Sending hugs!
    Kate recently posted…A very festive housewarmingMy Profile

  7. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Oh Allie, I am so very sorry to read about your friend’s passing. You’re right, it sucks and it’s not fair. This is the reason why I do as many Roswell Cancer Institute races/events as possible. I don’t want to see another person die from this disease. Sending you hugs and prayers!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Blogging Q & A Spin Cycle StyleMy Profile

  8. Auntie Laurie

    I’m so sorry Allie.

  9. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    I can’t NOT leave a comment. I am SO sorry to hear this friend. Hugs. xoxox
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…2015 Goals: Time to refocusMy Profile

  10. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Allie, all I can say is I’m so sorry and I can’t imagine what you are going through. It’s not fair.

  11. Dana

    I saw you tagged in a photo with Julie on Facebook, and my heart broke for you then. And now. I’m glad you wrote about your beautiful friend today. And I’m sorry. F*ck cancer.
    Dana recently posted…Fake it till you make it: My January Love ListMy Profile

  12. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Oh Allie. I’m so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend. There is absolutely nothing to say. It fucking sucks and is not fair. Sending you lots of love and hugs. My heart goes out to all of you who loved Julie.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…New Year. New Word of the Year.My Profile

  13. Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner

    Allie, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Reading this, I was reminded of something Stuart Scott said. He was a SportsCenter anchor who beat cancer twice and succumbed to it finally over the weekend at the age of 49. At an awards show this summer, at which he was honored, he said: “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” It sounds to me like Julie beat cancer.

  14. Tamara

    I hugged them first, and then I commented.
    No words. No acceptance. Total crap. She was beautiful.
    Tamara recently posted…I Actually Picked a Word of the Year!My Profile

  15. Tara Newman

    Oh shit Allie. Just shit. I am so sorry. My heart breaks for you.
    Tara Newman recently posted…A Letter to Our ReadersMy Profile

  16. Sister

    So sorry sister. Dan lost a friend to cancer this Christmas too. We are sending you hugs (((SisterAllieDan)))

  17. Hollie

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.
    Hollie recently posted…Beat the Ball 5k (19:50)My Profile

  18. Tina Muir

    Oh Allie, I am so sorry to hear this. It is so heartbreaking, but I am sure Julie was honored to know she had such a wonderful friend who was always there for her. It is hard, but you have to appreciate those moments you did have, which you did. IT is just a lesson to us to enjoy every moment on this earth, as we are truly lucky to have it. Sending lots of love your way.

  19. Yum Yucky

    Good friendship is hard to find. I’m sorry about Julie but glad you have great memories to hold onto forever. My aunt died of ovarian cancer when she was 29, and my grandfather died of pancreatic. 🙁
    Yum Yucky recently posted…How to Get Kissable Lips the Natural WayMy Profile

  20. Cassandre

    Allie, I am so sorry for your loss. May Julie rest in peace and I hope you can find comfort in the beautiful memories you have of her. My cousin passed away over the holidays and it hit me really hard. I found some solice in the memories of our time together as kids growing up. Praying for you and her family.
    Cassandre recently posted…Monday Musings: My #FitList15 GoalsMy Profile

  21. NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner

    I am going to do the opposite of what I usually do when I read your blog. I’m coming out of lurkdom today to say I am just so sorry for the loss of your friend.

    Reading this makes me want to invest even deeper in friendships this year. Thinking of you. xo
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted…January 2015 GoalsMy Profile

  22. Bree Pelczar

    I am so sorry Allie for your loss. My sister has been living with stage 4 breast cancer for 5 years. I hear stories about people lasting a short amount of time and I think I should feel lucky my sister is doing as well as she is. But, I don’t. No amount of time is long enough. Life is not fair for sure.

    1. vita88

      Oh Bree, thank you so much. I remember when your sister was diagnosed and I just couldn’t believe it. I don’t blame you at all for not feeling ‘lucky’ because it’s horrible, and something she and your family have to live with everyday. We both have a son named Miles and I think about her a lot because of that. Thank you so much for commenting here. It means a lot!

  23. Marcia

    Oh my goodness this breaks my heart. So very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful friendship you had with Julie. Disgustingly young, yes. I couldn’t agree more. Cancer is heinous and insidious and who knows why these horrible things happen. Huge, hugs to you. Wishing you all peace and healing.

  24. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    I have never lost someone to cancer and for you to have lost two people that you loved so dearly is just unfathomable to me. I really don’t know how I would process it either but I’m glad you have this space where you can write and vent and be real! Thinking of you, my friend.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…My Boston Training PlanMy Profile

  25. Kelly

    I have no words. Just condolences. I am so sorry for your loss. Julie sounds like an amazing sister friend. Wishing you peace and healing.

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much Kelly. I really appreciate it!

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