Debutante 2

I’m not able to leave this alone because my heart aches. I can not stop crying. These tears, these tears! They will not stop.

Sheila recently wrote about the birth of her niece, Lucy Anne. She said that Facebook and text pages kept her connected with her friends and extended family while they were waiting for Lucy’s big arrival. I am thinking of how real it all is. How technology connects us, and while it might not be the same as being face to face, it’s every bit as legitimate. You can fall in love with someone’s emails. Or blog posts. Or their pictures on Flickr. Our personalities shine through, and those are the important things.

I would not care to have five million readers a day because I wouldn’t have any kind of feel for the unique personalities of the people reading. But I know who reads my blog. I know my friends.

Deb was distinctive. She wasn’t just an email, she was a human being with loves and fears and a whole history of life, and she took a little bit of her precious, limited time, and allowed me to see some of that. It feels like an honor tonight, though I probably took it for granted as it was happening.

In my dark days, people tell me that I can not give up because life is precious. I scoff. I know that life is precious. I do not ever need to be reminded of that; I would wager that I recognize the full breadth of its preciousness more than most people. But nights like tonight, when one of my friends is permanently absent, that numinous sense of the beauty and wonder and preciousness feels painfully accessible, too close, too much.

Debby’s experience is unfortunately not unique. She has a nine-year old daughter who will be without her mom now. It’s so heartbreaking, it feels like too much to ever assimilate. Maybe having friends is a way for us to concentrate the overwhelming feelings of the numinous – a way for us to manage our knowledge of the wonder that exists. If it was spread over every person in the world, say, with every woman battling cancer who had a nine year old daughter, it would exhaust us. But if we are fortunate to find a few people we can gather around us and expend our energy on them, they become special to us, and maybe that is where we find our own value too – to know that we’re one of the few special people they’ve chosen to love during their brief time here.

I miss my friend Debby. I accept the hard gift of my new perspective from knowing her.


  1. Thanks so much for posting that. What a horrifying shame. It just doesn’t seem right for children to lose a parent to the brutality of cancer. Debby’s family, especially her girl, will be in my prayers. I am so sorry she had to go the way she did. Not fair. Not fair at all…

  2. Cara Ellison says:

    I agree, Jess. My heart just breaks for little Zoe. Deb fought so hard. She loved her little girl so much and she fought so hard.

    We need to cure this horrible disease once and for all.

  3. Rachel Y. says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Your pain in palpable and you do Debby’s memory honor to share it.

    Debby is finally at peace. It’s not fair. It never was. Fair is not what life is about. She squeezed every drop she could out of her life and she fought cancer off twice before the last battle. Proud Death must have tipped his hat to such a worthy foe.

    What is more important was how she lived her life. She refused to tolerate those who would bury their heads in the sand. I shall forever remember her sarcastic “pretty, pink cancer” comments and the firestorm they caused. Especially from the one she dubbed “Shitbird.”

    Rest in Peace, dear friend.

  4. Cara Ellison says:

    Oh Rachel. Thank you.

    I remember writing that post and thinking, oh God, every person with cancer is going to hate me. I’d going to be crucified!

    But no. First Deb then others came up and high fived me for it. They loved my anti-Komen sentiment. I loved that they loved it. I was happy that I was not the only one annoyed as hell at the Pink Ribbon Campaign, and I was so happy and proud to have such strong women in my corner.

    Deb was

    oh my god, I have to finish this in a second.

  5. Cara Ellison says:

    Okay, part two of that comment.

    Deb was not afraid to stand up with me and say Susan Komen was full of crap, that the foundation was nauseating and didn’t help women with cancer as it claimed, and it was just a big fat phony.

    Deb loved the Enron building! Deb and I chatted about that – I loved that she loved it. I love anyone who loves it but Deb actually brought it up first so I knew she was sincere about it.

    She was willing to argue with “shitbirds” about cancer and she was willing to fight cancer with the same cheerful defiance.

    I know she is at peace now, and that is why I am happy for her. She’s been released from that awful pain. But I miss my friend. I miss her acerbic comments, her sweet reaching out, her unassailable strength. Rest in peace, my sweet friend.

  6. So sorry to hear this. Truly sad.

  7. I’m sorry for your loss, Cara. It’s clear that Debby will be missed. She was lucky to have such a nice friend.

  8. Cara Ellison says:

    Thank you Nicole. Deb is greatly missed. I loved her spirit and her big, brass, take-no-prisoners personality. She was a gem and I was blessed to glimpse her reflected light.

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