Thursday, February 25, 2010

To Renee, My Athena

Copyright ©2007 Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust

In 2009 I discovered the One World, One Heart Blog Event. When I first stumbled upon it I naturally thought 'what a great way to generate business'. But I wasn't all selfish in my thinking. I knew how much my blog friends meant to me. How each comment they left brightened my day and how sometimes they got me moving and creating even if I didn't feel like it. I figured this event had it all: promote your business, meet new people from around the world and win prizes. How much better could it get. I could not know then that the greatest gift I would get would have nothing to do with prizes or business promotion.

As is natural, when you visit one blog you often stumble from one to another until 4 hours have passed and you're not really sure how. That's what happened to me during last year's OWOH event. From one blog I went to the next and the next until finally I wound up on one that wasn't even a participant. No matter, I knew it was golden from the first moment I laid eyes on it.

Circling My Head was the first thing I read. At the time, the blog header was a beautiful painting of a black haired girl with birds circling her head. In reading the profile, I found what made this image so significant. This woman, Renee, was battling stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer and in her words she was "learning to live with birds circling {her} head". I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Once I got to know this woman who was living with those pesky birds, I soon realized I'd do both.

I tried to imagine myself in her position. I wondered whether I'd feel like a wounded animal, birds circling, waiting for the inevitable. And then if I did feel that way, could I be so frank about it? could I say it out loud? You see, I'm an avoider. I figure if I pretend it's not there, it'll go away. Or at the very least, it won't scare me so much. Not a good way to deal with life by my own admission. But here was woman who said it out loud. She made it real, brought it to life and then shared it with everyone. She is the bravest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I love her so much!

It seems strange to me that, until this past December I had never seen her, and yet I felt so close to her. I had never heard her voice, I had never met her in real life and I had no idea what she looked like. I had a great laugh when she shared the first photograph with us. I had imagined her as though she were Athena. Strong, bold and larger than life and the precious woman who was staring back at me from the photo was tiny and petite. It was then I realized that your soul, your spirit, doesn't necessarily match your body.

Just a couple of weeks ago her daughter would post to let us know she was in the hospital. I just felt myself sinking. But I reminded myself of the time when she was going in for some bi-annual test results and she, like anyone, was hoping for the best but bracing for the worst. It might have been the first time I realized that she got scared too. Silly I know. We all get scared. But this was Renee. So I reminded her of that. I told her that Cancer was a bitch but my bet was on her. It fascinated me to know that these few little words had an impact. Renee said she was able to go into her appointment that day and remember that Jamie was betting on her and, somehow, that made it easier. Wow. I had made a difference to her. Which was so fitting because she had made all the difference in the world to me. She always took the time to send me a comment on my work. Tell me how great I was. Stand up for me when people were mean and tell me that she loved me (and somehow she always knew when I needed it most) and then she'd leave me with her xxoo's. And the most fascinating thing is, she did this for about 500 other people, too. I stubbornly told myself that cancer would not get her....

Several days after her initial post, her daughter had the difficult task of letting us know that, our dear Renee, her sweet mom, was near the end. My heart was literally crushed. I could barely make out the keys on the keyboard to type the heart is breaking. I honestly don't know what I will do without her. Without her uplifting, tell it like it is and make everyone stronger in the process posts. Without her xxoo's.

Selfishly, I visit her blog everyday. Several times everyday, actually. If I'm honest with myself, I go there to make sure she's still here. I need her to be. If there's no news she's still here. I keeping hoping it was all a mistake, the cancer hasn't spread or better yet she's miraculously cured because heaven knows we still need her here. And then I think of her family. Having to say goodbye or maybe, getting to, is the best way to put it. And I think if I'm feeling this much pain, how must they be feeling. Then I think of Renee. My Athena. And she's in pain. I can't stand that. And while I'm not ready to say goodbye to you, Dear Renee, I will say Au Revoir. Vous voir dans le Ciel. Je t'aime....


  1. THis is such a lovely post, and so many of us can relate to it. She is our angel and we will miss her so much. How lucky we are to know her and love her.

  2. Beautiful post! We are all so very lucky to have found Renee.
    I have gone and stared at her blog just waiting for her to post.
    We all will miss her deeply.

  3. Aww, I was just on her blog today, too. I think you have succinctly said what we all feel. What a profound tribute to her.

  4. Ah Dear Jamie, I could feel your emotion in this post, I think your Renee will always be with you and all the other lights she has touched... "don't cry for me when I'm gone, for I am still here...


  5. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. I unfortunately stumbled upon Renee's blog way to late, but she still had an impact on me as well.

    Bright blessings,

  6. I don't even know Renee and find myself reading this post with tears in my eyes. I agree with you, friends make a difference, even if we've never met them before.


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