Thoughtful Thursday: friendship

So you may have noticed that I’ve been uber quiet lately. What’s up with that you may wonder? I talk about everything, right? There’s some stuff going on with my sweet Anna that I need to talk about… but not today. I have even stepped back on some of my online responsibilities… real life sometimes has to take priority. This post is going to be about friendship. Something that typically I struggle with in real life but seem to have easily online. This last month has truly shown me who my real friends are… in both realms.

The reason why I’ve been absent and why I’m writing. Her name is Debbie Ellen Fena-Boone.

About a month ago, Debbie got diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer out of the blue after a weekend of fatigue and belly pain. She is one of my oldest friends, dating back nearly 17 years now. She was one of only two friends that came to see my after my knee surgery. (And in some cruel twist of fate, the other friend who visited me was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer just a week after Debbie. Renee begins chemo tomorrow and my thoughts and prayers are with her.) Debbie is one of those unconditional friends… the kind that no matter how much time passes, you pick up where you left off, talk about old times, and delve right back into life today. She’s an optimist, a fighter, a sweetheart. She lost her sister some years ago and it broke her heart. She just got her RN degree last year, I am so proud of her. Like most friendships, once spouses and children and daily life took center stage, communication came and went in spurts. She was with me the night I met my husband.

I have so many fun memories, but I’m saving those for myself for the moment.

She was fighting the liver cancer. I saw her on March 23rd. I gave her my special necklace… the one I got from Rae, another special needs mommy that came to a retreat I attended who made necklaces for all the mommies. Rae also wrote a poem to accompany those necklaces and when I visited with Debbie two weeks ago, I gave her my necklace and poem. This necklace has brought me a lot of comfort over the years. When Anna’s been put under general anesthesia or gone through hard times, I wore the necklace and felt the love and support from my other mommies. I felt that love and support might serve Debbie well.

Isn’t she pretty?

Jan, her partner, wrote us Monday and said that Debbie’s kidneys were shutting down. Debbie called me Tuesday morning from the hospital… she decided to go home with hospice and halt the fight, just one month after diagnosis. We both cried.

I went to see her tonight. She has already slipped into a semi-comatose state. Jan says it’s a matter of days now. I hugged her family, her friends. The Fena and Boone family are seriously the best huggers I’ve ever met. Everyone was so kind, so full of love.

I talked to her; I whispered in her ear; I told her I loved her; I thanked her for being my friend; I kissed her forehead and petted her; < just had to stop for 20 minutes>; I told her how when I walked into her home, I was hit in the heart with the love there… that her entire family had flown in from all over the country and the feeling of love was palpable; I crawled into bed next to her and cuddled her as much as I could; I told her that her life had such a big impact on me, my family, and so many others; I didn’t say goodbye, I told her I would see her soon.

I haven’t even been able to talk to my family about this yet. … Sigh… I can’t seem to finish writing this …

It’s just too fast. And Debbie’s mom and Jan are getting cheated. It’s not fair.

If you have a friend like this, an unconditional friend, take 10 minutes and stop by the drugstore. Buy them a mushy card and write them a love note and drop it in snail mail. You won’t regret it. Be a real friend, even when you are tired and stressed and distracted. Be there. It matters.

Updating to add that Debbie passed away at 2:53 a.m. this morning, Friday, April 8th, 2011. Aloha my beautiful friend. I will always love you.

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  • Lindsay M. - Oh, honey… I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I was just stopping by from ClickinMom’s to check out your blog and now I’m wishing I could just crawl through this computer screen and give you the biggest hug ever.

    Debbie is absolutely beautiful and she must have been amazingly blessed to have such a loving friend.

    I wish I had something better to say, but what do you say to something like this?

    Cancer is a horrible thing.

    I hope that you’re able to find a little more peace & acceptance in each day. Eventually, all those amazing memories will make you smile instead of cry. Hang in there.


  • Heather C - Holly, this is such a beautiful tribute to a friendship and an incredible woman.ReplyCancel

  • Project 52, week 14 » Holly Anissa - […] is my beautiful daughter, Jenny. Today I lost an equally beautiful friend, Debbie. I’ve been wanting to give my sweet girl extra big hugs because when Debbie and I were the […]ReplyCancel

  • Christa - (((Big Hugs))) That’s so heartbreaking holly. :*( I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend. She is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • My search for meaning » Holly Anissa - […] talking with Debbie Tuesday morning and feeling so very lost and scared for her, I pushed away from my computer […]ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I am so sorry for your loss. Big hugs to you and to all of her loved ones. Times like this help us to realize how precious life is.ReplyCancel

  • Lori J. - Holly, I am so sorry for loss. I can tell how much your friend meant to you. I love that you didn’t say goodbye. You will see her again! *Hugs*ReplyCancel

  • Project 52, week 15 » Holly Anissa - […] took this photo at Mayfield Park, the same place that I visited the day before I said goodbye to Debbie. After she died, I had the strongest compulsion to reach out to her niece, Kristi. Those of you […]ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Granzella - What an awsome tribute to Debbie. I just happened to google Deb’s name as to find out any more info. I have known Debbie since we were 5 yrs. old as we lived in the same neighborhood together. I haven’t seen her in years and was shocked to hear the news. I’m glad she had such a wonderful friend as you. My heart goes out to all her family & friends. I am glad I will be able to say good bye to her under her sister’s tree.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Burke - Hello Holly,

    My name is Lisa and I have known Debbie since 1981 when her sister Julie and I met in 7th grade. Julie was as special a friend to me as Debbie was to you. Taken way too soon from the most loving family I have ever met…….Debbie and I were trying to connect when she last visited the Bay Area and we just could’nt coordinate time……I’m feeling my own guilt for not making more of an effort. I do find comfort, however, that Debbie and Julie are together now and both looking over us all! She was extremely lucky to have a friend like you and thank you for your blog, I was unaware that she was even ill. My thoughts to you…..


  • Andrea - Although I don’t know you personally, I wanted to thank you for writing the beautiful things you did about Debbie. I am a friend from high school and haven’t seen her in years and years, but had connected with her on FB and felt her loveliness just the same as all those years ago. I send you love and blessings to give you peace and soothing energy, it is so very hard to lose someone so close as you two were. God Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • The ABC Challenge » Holly Anissa - […] of them you’ve seen before, sorry about that. A lot of my photos are inspired by my friend, Debbie, who lost her short battle with cancer on April 8th. I miss you, […]ReplyCancel

  • New releases at 9th & Bloom » Holly Anissa - […] for remembrance photos, baptisms, weddings, or other special occasions. I chose to scrap about Debbie, my friend that I lost to cancer in April. It was an emotional process and I will definitely be […]ReplyCancel

  • Project 52 [Twenty-Twelve]: Week 36 ~ My Favorite Things » Holly Anissa - […] a dare from my husband. My journey to becoming a businesswoman started with the death of my friend, Debbie. Her photo hangs on my wall just to the left of my desk… it reminds me to go for what I want […]ReplyCancel

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