My journey of grief and healing may be different from many others; in fact, I'm certain it is. (After all, one person's heartbreak can only be individual - not universal). After losing three friends to cancer over the last decade, my most recent and deepest loss was that of a friend of 20 years, whom I called sister. She transitioned from her earthly battle to Heaven's reward on July 19, 2013. She was the only one who understood intimately my own suffering and labored with me as we faced diverse crises. As sisters, we both walked through breast cancer diagnoses at the same time - only hers advanced to Stage IV. She died at age 45. My most tangible sense of loss is wishing I could talk to her, share with her, get excited with her, and exchange strength with her. But as an artist (novelist) the harvest that came from my grief was three new books either dedicated to or inspired by some juncture in our friendship that took us from life to death. I'm so grateful that it doesn't end there, though. When I miss her most I just remember that she's in a Perfected Place in a perfected body and I will see her again whenever I breathe my own last breath. Until then, life is growing sweeter as my heart and life grows stronger.

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