It’s been almost five years since my friend Betsy died. She left a big void in my life as we had one of those rare friendships where we were truly like family.

Betsy had a form of cancer that did not respond to post surgical treatment so I learned not to take our friendship for granted. For several years, I worried about Betsy and always asked how she was doing. Finally, she told me she had stopped worrying about the cancer; she considered it a period where she was sick and now she was well. And so I too finally stopped worrying about her cancer.

Ten years later, the cancer came back. She and her family fought hard and found a medical center willing to try a new surgical procedure and for awhile, it seemed as if Betsy won another round. But the joy was short-lived as the cancer spread and her life was once again tenuous. Betsy’s death was a shock as we all believed her monumental spirit was too strong to crush.

I think of Betsy often, and not just on the anniversary of her death. While I’ve had many friends in my lifetime, none have had a greater influence on me. And when I think of Betsy, I think of honoring her memory.

I fear that sometimes we get so caught up in our losses that we forget about the living. I spend so much time keeping in touch with friends and family members dealing with loss that I sometimes forget about those doing well. This year and this week, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to get in touch with my friends, just to let them know that I’m thinking of them, and how much I appreciate and value their friendship.

This is a good week to let those you care about know you care. And thank them for being a part of your life.

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle StoreClick here to order. 

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