And… nothing.

I have tried to write this post for a few days now, but each time I sit down to do it, I come up with nothing short of a blank screen.  So here I am rambling aimlessly, trying to form the words of what it means to lose a best friend.  Not only to lose a best friend, but losing a best friend to the horrible disease I am becoming all too familiar with.  Cancer.

Even as I type the word I wince a little bit.  A word should never have that strong of an effect on anyone.  But let’s get real, it’s not the word that makes me wince, it’s what I associate with the word.  I associate words like pain, tears, chemo, surgery, sickness, and fear.

It’s easy to think of cancer that way, but then I think of my best friend Emilee, and I remember Strength, Courage, Hope, Faith, and BELIEVE.  When I think of Emilee, I don’t think of her sickness, pain, or the fear that she might have felt.  Being diagnosed with a terminal illness at 16 years old, she was THE strongest person I knew.  She never flinched at the word cancer, she looked it straight in the eye, and laughed.

The amount of courage and hope that my best friend had for the last three years never faltered.  She never once gave up, & she never once asked, “Why me?”.  If I had to pick the one thing I admired most about my BFF, it was that no matter how much pain, how much hurt, or how scared she might have been, you would’ve never known.  To this day, I can honestly say I have absolutely NO IDEA what she went through.  I mean, my other BFF’s and I knew the logistics of what was happening, or what treatments she was receiving, but to Emilee, it didn’t matter.  If she was hurting we never knew.

As a best friend, you know when your girlfriend needs a pick me up.  And whether Emilee would say she needed it or not, that’s what we were there for, to just know when one was needed.  Having a party in the hospital on her last day of chemo, doing nails, watching movies, and eating endless amounts of food, we were on it.  Over this past week, Johna, Caitlin, Morgan, and I, have been told a thousand times how lucky Emilee was to have such great friends.  That means so much to hear that, but in response to that, I just want to say that our job was easy…  We were just having fun with each other.  Cancer or no cancer, it wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

One thing that really comforted me this week, was learning so many things about Emilee that I had not known.  At her service, one thing that particularly stuck with me was when her Doctor spoke about her.  He had mentioned how while she was in the hospital receiving her treatments, she would go around serving the other patients, over 3x her age, snacks.  It was also nice to hear her youth pastor speak about how Emilee wasn’t afraid, even in her last moments, because she was much stronger in her faith than I ever knew.  She didn’t have to be afraid because she knew she’d be with God, and cancer free.

As most of you know, the 5 of us friends all had our own words that we clung to, especially during this past year when things started getting rough.  I chose STRENGTH, and for me, that is what I saw in Emilee, it is what I see in my mom, and it is also something I strive to be for them both.  As for my other friends, they each have their own reasons why they chose their words, but I’m going to tell you why I think they are perfect for them.

Caitlin, your word is courage.  And, let’s be honest, it took a whole lot of courage to be the first to get that tatted on your body, girl! Haha, it’s funny, because it all started out as a joke when we all first started talking about it, but then somewhere along the way it became serious.  On that serious note, I think you are absolutely courageous.  The way you’ve held it together for Emilee over the past three years was awesome.  We all knew how hard it was to see your very best friend have to fight for her life, and you were always there for her.  You two were a blast in a glass, and I can honestly say that you were her perfect medicine.  Keep your head up beautiful, it will get better with time, and many, many, GNO’s this summer.

Morgan, Hope really is the perfect word for you.  Always optimistic, and ready to chime in with some quirky remark at any moment to brighten our day.  Just always staying positive is really what hope is about, because even in a world of darkness, you found that sliver of light and held onto it.  And FYI, I am so glad that you shared Emilee and I’s love for the Grand Buffet, because we all know we’d have to break off Caitlin and Johna’s legs to even get them into that restaurant. LOL. We need to continue that tradition, even though it will never be the same.

Johna, you embody Faith.  When all else fails, you are the first one to remind us that it is in God’s hands.  And at the end of the day, that’s all you can do, is trust that God has a plan.  You have kept me grounded, and when I call on someone, you know I’ll always call on you… Even if it is to tell you that I just heard baby got back on the radio.

And Emilee, your word was, and will always be, BELIEVE.  You believed in God, you believed in love, you believed in friendship, and you believed in living your life to the fullest.  Ohhh the silly situations we always found ourselves in… Getting completely lost- everywhere.  Camping in a broken tent at Great Seal with Caitlin and the boys- was that even legal?  Our many trips to Hook’s for just a scoop, or three, of ice cream.  Sledding down our hill- every year.  Climbing trees- why did we do that again?  Drawing on cars- I still remember what you drew ;).  Forcing Caitlin to wear a flamingo hat and walking around walmart with her, Johna and I looking equally ridiculous. I could go on, and on, and on.

I could write a novel on what Emilee meant to me, to my friends, and to everyone she met.  But what I can’t do, is write about the emptiness that I feel because she isn’t here anymore.  There are no words to describe loss.  There are no words to make it any easier either.  But what we do have, is all of the amazing, crazy, and absolutely perfect memories.  I know that Emilee is now cancer free, she has won her battle, and she is without a doubt living it up just as big in Heaven as she did here on Earth.  I know it’s kinda long distance… but we can make it work, Best Friends Forever ❤

I love you so, so, much Emilee. You will never be forgotten.

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3 Responses to “BELIEVE”

  1. It’s May 1st, 2012 at 1pm. I’m sitting at my kitchen table reading this story about Emilee and her friends. This is a beautiful tribute to her. Many prayers have been prayed for her, even though I didn’t know her, but she was a part of our community and community is family and we share in sorrow and pain. Emilee’s love for God and Life is what helped her through this terrible disease and she’s left behind beautiful memories for all of you. She’s been an example to many who knew her and didn’t know her personally. My prayer is for all who had contact with her situation and those who only”heard” about her, that they will take something from her fight for life to help them in each struggle that comes their way. There is a better day coming for all of us. Emilee has finally made “her day” and she wouldn’t want to return here, but she desires that each one joins her when it’s their time. God Bless You for this story.
    Shirley Mankin,
    Brookside Church

  2. lisa hill Says:

    what a blessing you are.

  3. Angie Doles Says:

    Bri, your words are so touching! No beautiful young woman like yourself should have to experience what you have been through. It has obviously given you strength, faith and wisdom that is beyond your years! You so beautifully express yourself and it is so heartwarming to read….thank you for sharing with all of us. Prayers for all of you!!!!

    Much love,

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