Sending Love to Heather
I started making friends on the Internet a long time ago, long before I started a blog. There were two messages boards I found when I was pregnant with Declan through BabyCenter, one was for working mothers, and one was my birth board – meaning women who were giving birth the same month as me.
It was such an amazing time, where I was soooooooo over my head – reeling from the changes in my body and in my life.
Many of the women I met during that time are still my friends to this day. When I say many, I mean the number would probably approach 75 if I were to write out a list.
In particular, the ladies from the BabyCenter working moms board clicked. Like, a bunch of us. The conversation got so personal, we broke off and made a private message board of our own. One that is still active to this day.
The numbers go up and down, but it’s around 50 women, who chat daily about anything and everything. New babies, new marriages, new directions. We have shared our lives for a decade.
People come and go, check in elsewhere (like most of us are friends on Facebook now), but the core idea is there: Friendship.
A lot has happened to all of us in that time, good and bad.
When the good happens, we all cheer. We celebrate and laugh and hug – virtually, and in person, because there have been meetups, officially and spontaneously.
When the bad times happen – we rally.
We have a really bad time right now, and we are gathering the troops for Heather.
What Heather thought was back pain is pancreatic cancer. In a week, she’s gone from an active mom of two lovely girls to a patient with cancer that has metastasized into her liver. We’re getting information from her husband Scott, who most of us know, again, through the internet, and everyone is shocked. Shellshocked.
We went through this once before. Our Lauren had breast cancer, fought through grueling treatments, and we helped her every step of the way.
Not to say the group beat the cancer – that was Lauren. But we helped. I know we did. Lauren will tell you we did.
And we want to help Heather.
I can’t tell you exactly what is going down because Heather doesn’t know yet, and of course we want to surprise her. But I know she knows we are doing something. Because that is what we do.
I am BLOWN AWAY by the generosity of these ladies. And organization. And creativity.
It’s not just about money, although a lot has been raised in a short amount of time. And we’re not people who have a ton to spare. These ladies made Heather a priority.
The other things coming to Heather will mean the most to her. Things made with loving hands and thoughtful hearts. Not to mention the 50,000 emails in my inbox deciding exactly how to go about them.
The point is, motherhood may have brought us together.
Technology may have facilitated our relationships.
But it’s the love that makes us true friends.
Can I ask a favor?
As a person who has been in hospitals a lot lately, I can tell you they are lonely. You are not really in the mood for visitors all the time, but messages and people reaching out make you feel connected, less isolated.
I would sincerely appreciate it if you would visit Heather’s Caring Bridge Guestbook and leave her a message. You may not know her, but trust me – it doesn’t matter.
Go tell her to kick cancer’s ass.
I am incredibly heartbroken to say that Heather passed Saturday, September 17th, just under 2 weeks after any symptoms even appeared. From the messages pouring in, pancreatic cancer is really, really horrible and moves very fast. But usually not this fast. The only solace is that Heather did not suffer long. When I know more about things that I am sure will be done in her honor, I will post them. In the meantime, if you feel inclined, messages are still going into her Caring Bridge site. I know that Scott and their daughters would appreciate any love you have to share right now.
I love you Aimee. Beautifully written.
Wow. I really hope your friend gets better soon. All the best.
Done and done.
Friends I made on Babycenter are still some of my best friends to this day.
p.s.-I don’t know if I told you yet or not, but we’re in talks to do a Colorado vacation next summer. You are forewarned: I expect a meetup.
Thanks Aimee for writing this. I had no idea about this phenomenal group of friends.
I am friend of Heather’s from the powerhouse called The Wheatfield Women’s Assoc. I am sure she has mentioned this group and how this small powerful community has been able to move mountains. Thanks to you sharing this group, I now know she has at least two powerhouses in her corner. Cancer, be afraid, be VERY afraid.
Thanks for the tears! Love you too Aimee!
I’m at a loss for words…and I can’t see to type because I’m crying.
Thank you Aimee. And thanks to all my WMR friends…you know who you are. We sounded the call for Heather, and everyone came running. That’s what makes our group so mighty – our love for each other and our undying loyalty. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Love you too, girl. Now let’s all go kick some cancer ass!
How did I miss this? Damn it. Fuck cancer! Heather is an amazing woman. I know her and Scott from on line too. My heart breaks for them. Thank you for letting me know how I can help!
Oh no!! I HATE Pancreatic Cancer with a vengeance -so sorry it’s attacking your friend Heather 🙁
Sending good vibes for a positive outcome -a close friend’s Dad was given 5 months to live & is going on 3+ years since diagnosis.
The PanCan website/Facebook have been very helpful!
With love to Heather & her family!
I’m moved beyond words… so beautifully written and SO true.
Heather is loved very much and I know that she will rally and fight and our WMR army will be right behind her.
wow, gorgeous post and comments. Heather is lucky to have you all!
wow. so sorry to hear about your friend. hope she kicks its butt. -m
So proud to be part of this amazing group. Aimee, this is the most poignant thing yet I’ve seen written about Heather…and about all of us. Thanks, I’m all teary now.
this is really cool – glad I saw this on twitter. kick cancer’s ass Heather!!!!!!!!
I think Heather’s Army is about 1,500 people strong…and that’s just everyone who knows and loves her.
She wants for nothing at this point, and it’s because every individual person opened their hear to her. She’s touched so may with her kind heart and strength– it shows in every response we get.
Thank you for being there, in my periphery, because I know I’m not alone at this very trying time.
Hugs to all,
Wendy (Esmeralda from the old days)
OMG Aimee you are so amazing. What a wonderful thing to have out there in support of Heather right now. You rock!!
Beautifully written. I would have commented when I first read it earlier today at work, but I was crying too hard and had to go hide in the bathroom. The WMR women rock 🙂
Beautiful, Aimee. Truly beautiful.
I am totally all over this… heading over to her page now and will leave a message. I wish there was something more I can do.
Thanks for sharing Heather’s story!
Going now. Cancer is a total jerk. I know what you mean about baby center, too – we had a “week” due date group that now travel all over the us to see each other. In 2 weeks…13 of them are coming to my house to stay! Our 3rd year in a row of a group trip. It’s a priceless friendship.
Dude. She’s wearing Buckeyes. I love her already.
So great for friends to help freinds. thanks for sharing.
I just came over from Twitter where Amy Turn Sharp shared this link.
I am in awe of the advances that have been made in cancer research in the past 10 years. I have have witnessed what felt like miracles in my own family. And I would be honored to be even a tiny part of your efforts to support this much loved friend.
I just began blogging a year ago.
I don’t even know about message boards.
I’m going to find out.
I do want to say that I am so very, very sorry about your friend
Like changes so fast.
kick ass, sister sue! kick it’s ass!
I was so sorry to hear about Heather’s passing on Twitter yesterday. Cancer sucks.
I’m so sorry…
I am so so so sorry to hear that news.
I just saw this post, and I’m so, so sorry to read about your friend’s passing. What a terrible shock.
I am catching up in Reader and just saw this. I am so sorry, Amy. I’m grateful that the Internet has extended my heartspan by (some arbitrarily large number) times but no one can deny that it extends our grief circle as well. I’m sorry about your friend and I’m sending good energy your way in the hopes that you can push it in the direction of her husband and kids.
I am sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. Pancreatic cancer is a nasty thing. My aunt has been fighting it for 3 1/2 years and defied the odds but I am sad to say her cancer has returned and I think she is getting close to the end.
I also was on Baby Center when I was pregnant with my oldest in 1999 and made some amazing friends who I stayed in touch with for many years.
Pancreatic cancer is absolutely horrible, my father lost his battle after ten months.
I am so sorry about your friend.