For Andrea

Eight years ago, when I yahoo’d my new author obsession and stumbled upon a message board and book club, little did I know I’d soon be meeting a group of friends for life. Friends who are quick to support each other through family deaths and crises and just as quick to congratulate, rally around accomplishments and to send a wedding gift too. After millions of emails and the most memorable trips ever, one woman would become one of my bridesmaids and I’d also have someone amazing to visit in almost each state whenever I traveled.

One of these amazing women would also become my IM buddy though, she’d be the one to hear about my grievances at work or about the fun things that I was doing. I’d type a message and hit enter and BAM she was there to chat with. She also got me into the show Alias and supported my move across the country, even calling me courageous for it. Ha, when she was the courageous one - moving to Iraq for a bit for work and later battling breast cancer so bravely. Her name was Andrea and she died this weekend at age 38 from cancer.

I can go on and on about the things I’ll miss about her and how much I hate cancer for killing such a young and vivacious woman, but she was so strong through it all that I want to be too. I’m so thankful that I saw her just a few weeks ago when I was in D.C. for work and had dinner with her and her mom. I could tell then that this second round of radiation and treatment was taking its toll as I could barely recognize the beautiful woman I knew, yet her strong-willed defiance still shone through her pain. I didn’t return to my hotel room right away after our dinner, but walked around the monuments at dusk and cried, because I knew that tight embrace was a goodbye hug. It was so memorable; I can literally feel it now and how I impulsively kissed the top of her shoulder as I tucked my head in for the hug. I'm still stunned that I was literally having dinner with her three weeks ago and now she is no longer on this earth.

I’d like to share with you the following stupid video that I made for Andrea a few months ago. We all created a YouTube page to post videos to in order to say hello and cheer her up this year and here was one of mine:

I love you Andrea!
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