Shirley loved my writing and often would ask me to write things for her to read. Many times over the many years we were friends, I would write to her when I couldn’t communicate my feelings in any other way.
This letter is the last one I wrote for her before she passed away. In between tears, I read this over the phone while she was hospitalized and it wasn’t clear if we would ever see each other again.
“I don’t normally remember details of meeting people but I could reconstruct the moment I met you right now down to the shoes you were wearing. Yes, it was love at first sight. I know it was for you too. I am so grateful that in a fit of competitiveness I interrupted someone who was trying to recruit you into her sorority to put in a pitch for mine. The universe said that day “this is your sister, tell her.” I told you, and the universe gave me my sister.
I often think that God did make us sisters and thought no one could handle raising the two of us, then he split us up. We were born 3 days apart, and because he has a sense of humor made you the older one. I am grateful we found our way to each other in this lifetime and grew to be sisters.
Over the years, we have held each other’s hands and squeezed them through some of the scariest moments of our lives, the way sisters do. We have shed tears of joy and of indescribable pain with each other. We are each other’s go-to for when our worlds fall apart and no matter the circumstance, we are each other’s soft place to land. You know everything there is to know about me, all of the things I don’t dare whisper to myself, but to you I tell them loudly. To you I have always been the prettiest, the kindest, the smartest and most worthy in any room. You have always loved me fully and made me feel special every chance you got, even in your last moments, especially then.
In the last 5 years you fought this huge battle and not ever, not even for a second, you turned your back on me. You showed me support and held my hand just as much as I did yours. You listened to all of my insignificant problems and never once told me that your problems were too big to make room for mine.
You have made me a better human in every aspect. I have grown to be more compassionate, thoughtful, present, patient and kind as a result of being your sister. You have taught me the real meaning of loving someone entirely for who they are. You showed me what caring for someone entails, what in sickness and in health, and what for better or worse really looks like. You and I are friends for all occasions. The two of us will always be my favorite story to tell, the greatest love story of how two friends never gave up on each other, down to the very end. I will see you soon.“
Shirley was my best friend of 13 years and my absolute favorite human being. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer in 2016 and metastatic breast cancer in 2018. Together, we gave cancer our best for over 5 years and inspired countless people with our dedication to each other. The two of us had the most beautiful and heartbreaking friendship. I hope to keep our friendship alive and inspire people to love authentically through this blog.