Thursday, May 1, 2008

Losing... And Finding Heart

I've learned this Blog has gathered a bigger audience than I'd intended. When I write, I'm talking to my friends and family. It seems there are others out there who have found their way to this Blog via search engines or just by accident, and I think it's great if anything I have to say to my own friends and family is of any interest to others.

But today, I'm writing specifically to my Dragon Boat teammates, their families, and their friends.

I just saw you all at the funeral this morning and I realized how lucky we all are to have known our friend. I didn't know her as well as some of you. I know she made me smile, feel welcome, feel warm. I went to the funeral to say good-bye to her and to thank her for giving me her smile. I wanted to meet her son, who said he wanted his mother to be proud of him. I'd like my children to think of me that way some day.

I've also been thinking about how lucky I am to know you, your husbands, our coaches, and everyone else who's been supporting this Dragon Boat team.

Adversity sometimes leads to odd relationships. On the surface, I have very little in common with you. Even as we trained together, I thought the only thing we had in common was the boat, not even our reasons for being on the team.

Today, I looked at you all and thought about the friend we've lost. And I was so proud. I was so proud of her and the loving people she had around her today. I was so proud of all of you and your strength, smiles, and tears. All of it.

Today's was the second Paddle Salute we've had for a teammate in the past year. We might see more Paddle Salutes in the years to come. I worry about what this does to you. We want to be together and support each other in our fight against cancer, but we're putting ourselves at risk of losing people we care about this way. Why invest the time and heart in people who may not be around for much longer? Am I making you sad because you think the next Paddle Salute will be for me?

And this is why I'm so proud to know you all. You're not afraid to invest your hearts, no matter what the risk. We lost a friend and her family lost a mother, wife, sister. But I feel like I've gained a friend, many friends. I knew her very briefly, but she left something in me that wasn't there before. How is that losing?


Deb said...

Hi Shin,
I think many who read this will agree with me when I say you've just said what we would all like to convey to you.
You too make us smile, feel welcome and warm.
So know that the wondeful feelings you have at knowing your friend is what we feel about you as our friend.

I'm glad I get the chance to say these things to you because like you said earlier we all appreciate one more moment and I'm just going to keep on using mine as often as I can to tell you how wonderful and inspiring you really are.

Love ya heaps XX

leighbee said...

And how can YOU expect all of us that care so much for you to "ignore" a posting that has made such a HUGE inpact on YOU! I did't even know about the dragon boat team until I read your blog! Hadn't realised its existence/importance....I do now....I know this post was not fo rthe likes of me BUT it has touched and educated me so surely thats whats important? I hope you understand what I am saying for the love and thanks it warrants?

Thank you Shin..........

Anonymous said...

When you are gone
And I'm still here
I'll see you in my sparkling tears
I'll see you in my midnight eyes
One so bright and always wise

I'll keep your love deep in my heart
I'll keep your feel so close and tight
I'll steal your scent, I'll be your all
I'll sense your shadow, small and tall
I'll feel your arms around me tight
I know you'll keep me safe at night.

ALI KATI said...

That's the tricky thing. If you knew you are going to go, would you want others to invest in you, knowing at some point it would hurt them if you left? I've thought the same myself, but I guess death is inevitably a part of life. We all have to go one day or another, or way or the other. If we all held back, then this current period of living won't be worth as much. Perhaps if we gave the most we can while we can, after we've gone, those memories will help those who are left behind.

Love the image of a "Paddle Salute". It's a lovely send-off, I think.

Best wishes, A

Anonymous said...

I am a breast cancer survivor and do know some of the pink paddlers so this post is for me as well.

When I read the news, I thought of the impact it would have on the pink paddlers and you especially. I knew that I would be reading about it in your blog.

I also know you are concerned about how they will feel should the 3rd paddle salute be for you. How you deal with this loss ought to be a good example for the rest of them.

I am no "Hallmarky" person but I do respect and admire you.