I woke up on June 24th and my baby boy was next to me, it was his and Cullen's birthday...they were 4! WOW. Where had the time gone?
Their birthday is always very bittersweet.
A few hours after I woke up I was on Facebook and saw a post and my heart dropped.
"In the end.
It's not the years you have in your life.
It's the life you had in your years.
Vicki, rest in peace sweet friend."
I was INSTANTLY kicked to the floor. That moment in time, the one where you feel life NEVER will be the same...I was in that moment and it hurt SO MUCH...
I couldn't breathe
I was shaking
I felt sick
She couldn't be gone.....
Vicki and I have known each other since 2010, we met on babycenter because her son and Georgia both had terrible reflux and we were searching for answers or just someone else that understood what we were going through. Our two even ended up have sensory processing disorder because of all they went through when they were little.
We emailed often and finally became Facebook friends.
We had a lot in common and many differences.
She was a devote Christian and even though I was the opposite she answered my questions and never got frustrated with me when I played devil's advocate.
I learned a lot and was in awe of her commitment to God.
Vicki was kind, sweet, funny and soon became one of my best friends.
Emails and Facebook soon turned into texting and phone calls. We knew a LOT about each other, we talked about being a mom, being a wife, a sister and daughter in law. We discussed self doubt, depression, feeling alone, and SO much more. Like I said, we had a lot in common. We were there for one another through so many ups and downs. Life, death, sickness, surgeries and more
I thought I knew my sweet friend.
I found out on Grady and Cullen's birthday, I did not.
Where did I fail her? How could I not know? Sometimes I questioned things in my head but I never questioned her about them. She, like me, was extremely hard on herself. Who am I to judge? She was my friend and I loved her.
Vicki was my rock on so many occasions. SO SO MANY.
I can only hope that I was her rock as well.
I will never have my answer.
Vicki was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, I will never forget the email. For years she fought her fight. She never lost hope in her God. We cried a lot together.
There were times our friendship was quiet, life was moving along with me or her, but we always caught up where we left off. THAT is when you know you are true friends.
When I started my own business she supported me.
When I struggled, she encouraged me.
She always wanted to help.
She supported my family when we raised money for the March of Dimes.
She bought a shirt I designed in Memory of Cullen, and then my sweet friend bought me a twin to twin transfusion syndrome bracelet.
I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.
Besides her husband, adorable son and God, cancer was the other part of her.
I would send her motivational quotes, cancer quotes, the latest herb treatments and vegan diets for cancer through Pinterest. I sent funny ecards and texts to make her laugh. I wanted to help her as much as a long distance friend could.
The last time we connected was a month ago. I had been so wrapped up and depressed about Cullen, the fact that Grady asked about him all the time, my own surgery coming up….I shut her out. She knew why I was in my own world, but I WISH I KEPT HER UP TO DATE.
MAYBE, just maybe she would have told me her story, the pain that she was carrying around. MAYBE, she would have told me the truth? Maybe she would have asked for help from me?
Maybe I always questioned her story? See, cancer took over her life but she often dismissed it with me. She didn’t ever want to talk about it unless I grilled her, my life and what was going on with me was more important than her cancer.
Vicki would miraculously have defeated cancer and then it would come back with a vengeance. I always wanted to know what they were doing for her, the medicines she was on...I search for answers like she did.
She never asked for anything ever except for people to pray for her. She truly believed in God’s will. I on the other hand do not believe. I found her inspiring most of the time. Sometimes I was worried she herself wasn’t doing enough besides praying. But, being 850 miles away, I just took her word.
Vicki finally was near the end of her fight, the breast cancer had metastasized to her lungs. There wasn’t anything that was working. She learned of a trial but there was a heavy cost. She finally asked for help, started a gofundme page and that was that.
Throughout her years with cancer she would tell me there would people who would doubt her. I, just listened. She was my friend. She was sensitive, extremely hard on herself and like any mom, doubted herself in so many ways. My job, was simple...to love her.
With this gofundme page I believe once again she was accused of not having cancer and a sheriff was mentioned.
I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t up to date since my mind was so preoccupied.
So now we are up to date.
I sadly found out that one of my best friends on this earth took her life. I heard she in fact did not have cancer.
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
I’ve been living in a fog. I’m sick to my stomach. I don’t know what is reality.
What I do know, and after reading Vicki’s blog, texts, messages and emails….I know I loved her. I still love her. I know she loved me. Our friendship was REAL. Yes, I have a LOT of questions. Some things are making more sense. I know she was surprised years ago when she told me she was said to have a personality disorder. I find my friend in many parts of her blog…not the cancer Vicki, but the one I knew and loved. I feel she tried to reach out for help but didn’t know how. When you find yourself in such a deep lie and can’t imagine how lonely it is, I’m sure you want it to end but don’t know how.
“However, while I'm doing that, I'm falling apart inside. Like really falling apart. More than I care to admit. I'm scared and frustrated and worried and I feel the weight of this three and a half year battle on my shoulders. I feel incredibly alone, although I know I've pretty much done that to myself. People don't see the "scared" me, so how do they know I need help? I pretty much never say it. So, I just hold it all in until I break down; kind of like a volcano.”
“Now, I wish I could tell you that I will stop criticizing my body and be totally content with how I look. I wish I could say that I will snap my fingers and change the way I think. I won't pretend it's that easy. But next time the "hot moms" come to the pool, maybe I'll stay a bit longer, knowing that my little guy close by thinks I'm a hot mom too.”
“So, just remember, the people that we meet may be important for one of three reasons: they may be there to help us, they may be there to be helped BY us or it might just be a little bit of both. And each set is equally important. It's just figuring out which it is than can be the rough part. Luckily God made this one pretty clear.”
“We've been going through some challenges and I find myself doing the same thing. Saying I want him to be proud of me, that I want him to think I'm tough. And I get the same strange look each time I say it. And as I write this, I see how that need is sapping my energy to actually fight the fight. Because I put up such a front, one that's impossible to carry for long and I inadvertently end up falling apart. Probably worse than if I had just stopped pretending. Well, not probably...definitely.
So, what's the lesson from all this? That I shouldn't care so much about how people view me during a struggle. I should worry more about the actual struggle. That I need to take the mental energy I'm wasting and put it towards the important things. And by making this change, I'll end up having fewer "lows" in this roller coaster called life. Now let's see if I can just actually make that change. Fingers and toes crossed.”
What were all these directed at? Cancer, asking for help? Regardless. My FRIEND, my dear sweet friend really was AMAZING. I’m sure there are others who caught her in the lie that do not think highly of her. I on the other hand see an amazing, caring generous woman who was ill. She loved. She had a HUGE heart. She made a mistake….on purpose, to deceive….I don’t know. But I will not judge her.
Vicki taught me a lot about her love for God. She respected the way I felt. But because of HER I will start to pray….to her, to Cullen, to the Universe. I saw how it made her feel. That, I do not think was a lie.
Vicki had a mental illness.
She was also a BEAUTIFUL friend. And THAT is how I will ALWAYS remember her.
I will never stop thinking about her, Matt, Alex and the rest of her family and friends.
I would LOVE to know more about her.
I lost my son 4 years ago, my father to Cancer 6 months ago and now one of my best friends to suicide. I’m one to research to find out as many facts as possible. This, losing Vicki, has got to be one of the most painful because SO much of it is unknown.
Quotes from my friend <3
“But when things looked really bleak and my mind would wander to "what do I want on my
tombstone?", it was the basics: 'Loved wife, mother and friend'. And since I'm already those three things, maybe it's as simple as being the best wife, mother and friend I can be. And let THAT be my greatness. Let those things be how I'm remembered when I do finally leave this earth. And until (or if) The Lord shows me something else He wants me to be doing, I will just perform those roles to the best of my ability. And it helps that I already know how to handle those jobs....now I just need to take each day as it comes and be the best ME I can be. Maybe it truly is THAT simple.”
To me, you presented yourself as just this “Loved wife, mother and friend” and I know you did everything to make it as the BEST wife, mother and friend.
I’m afraid to end this, because it means this is it. But, YOU my sweet loving friend, will ALWAYS be the voice in my head….How can I be kinder, more loving, more understanding?
Thank you for making me a better me.
To end, I will quote her sweet Alex:
"Look Mommy, it's Jesus behind the clouds. I can finally see Heaven. I've always wanted to see Heaven. Now I know it's real."