Friday, August 26, 2011


I haven't come back to post on this blog since December of last year. Look at the month now, late August, almost September. But when I read the email that inspired this post, I could think of nothing other but opening another tab on my desktop, entering this site, logging in, and starting to write.

Not that there haven't been things I thought about writing about, other events of significance or import. But there were other projects and places that were occupying my attention, and the blog was quiet.

But this email seems intended to be put here, right now, even though I am not sure of its ultimate significance.

A few of my other writing pieces have me waxing on about the meaning of relationships, the friend who I am most suprised to have. Another contest asks when I first learned the meaning of love. These questions, and the ones I ask in my book always lead me back to the Big ? What the heck is life all about anyway?

The main conclusion I come to most of the time is hope. Believing in it, having it, living for it. I mean why else live unless you can imagine a likelihood of success and believe in possibilities?

The email that I got somehow seems to represent both the questions and the answers in one simple picture. It is from Caryn in MI who I have only really known for the equivalent of one day.

I had seen her in the hallways and showroom of the conference we were both attending, but we hadn't connected until the last day when we talked at a boot camp class in one of the ballrooms.

"I like your funky moves," I said to her bobs and weaves, little kicks, and great expressions as we went through the workout. “Thanks,” she said, looking like a sweaty Sarah Silverman. She gave a sideways smile and I could tell she liked that I said it. We talked a bit more in class between power intervals and then chatted after with a few other women leaving the class and heading for the elevators to shower.

Later that night a group of us met up at the pool party and Caryn was there. She was preoccupied because she really wanted to see the fireworks from the top of the building, but nobody wanted to go with her, until she asked me.

I never miss an opportunity to see fireworks. It reminds me of my mom, and of sweet times, and always pulls "ohhs" and "ahhs" of wonderment out of me at any age.

We went to the 54th floor of the hotel and watched the distant fireworks of Epcot center through the glass as we told each other the stories of why we were at the conference.

Caryn's mom died at 44, when she was only 14. Caryn's mom was one of four sisters. Three of them, including her, died from breast cancer. Caryn tested positive for the BRCA gene and she wanted to do something to stop a similar fate. So she joined FORCE at was at the conference to learn more.

Caryn's mother Irene (LowerLeft) and her sisters: Pat, Joan and Barb Unpictured is Joyce, who died of bone cancer at 18

I told Caryn my BRCA story and about losing my sister and mother to breast cancer. We talked about breasts and surgeries and loss, about our children, and our husbands and our sex lives, all in the space of under an hour while the not so spectacular fireworks shot up and fizzled in the background.

After an only fair grand finale we went back to the pool party for a bit and then said good-bye. Caryn left the next morning while I was enjoying a rare chance to sleep in. She stuck a card under my hotel room door that gave me the dates and fundraising information for her upcoming 3-Day Breast Cancer walk. I made a donation the next day before she even got back home, and we emailed twice over the months between.

Last week, when Caryn was about to leave for her walk, she sent me an email saying said she would be thinking of me and my loved ones as she walked.

"Walk with wings," I emailed back.

When I opened the email I am going to share with you now, I broke down crying. Instantly hit, smack dab in the heart, with a huge helping of hope and appreciation and love. And it got me blogging.

Thanks Caryn, the inspiration keeps going round and round. We should never forget that it is not about time spent with people, but the quality and connection that makes all the difference.

I walked w/ wings!

Caryn to me
show details 8:14 PM (3 hours ago)
Hi Raychel,

This beautiful dragonfly was resting on my tent the last morning. I put him gently on my shoulder- he stayed there for 20 min! So I walked with wings afterall. Hope you are well.

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