I had just gotten back from a heinous oral surgery event, which I don’t really remember thanks to Halcion but which the gaping sockets in my mouth and the gigantic pool of blood where I drooled on my pillow last night assure me happened, when Jon texted me yesterday.
He likes to say “Hey” and then wait for a response before telling you what he’s texting you about.
“Yes,” I texted back.
Actually, you know what? Here. Just read this:
See how I said, “I’m gonna cry?”
Cry I did. And have been doing since he told me. I inherited Abbey’s story from the former feature editor here. I’ve followed her for about two years, and she’s been so candid and open in sharing her story. I wouldn’t have known Abbey if not for this job and even in my capacity as a reporter I can’t claim to be personally involved or close with her. But I have developed a sort of attachment to her. She’s one of a handful of people whose stories have been meaningful to me personally.
Even when you’re exposed to death through volunteering and work, there are times when it still hits you wrong. And Abbey’s death hits me wrong. She was so quietly fierce, you know? She was just such a good person, and strong. She never had anything nasty to say. She was always smiling when I saw her. She answered my questions, which were often awkward and uncertain, gracefully.
She inspired me.
She made me want to be as strong as she was.
So I’ve been crying over Abbey for two days now, and no end in sight if I’m honest.
And I am. Honest.
This is what her mother posted on Facebook today.
“So as most know Abbey’s fight is over and although she didn’t get to ring the cancer bell for the second time at Children’s I’m sure god let her ring it when she got to heaven!!! it’s been a long and rough road for her, started June 29, 2015 – ended February 20, 2018. I want to thank everyone for all your prayers, strengthful gestures and thoughts. It always helped getting through some of the long hard days with such a loving and strong support family and friends. It’s been a tough road for us and with her dash that she has lived she has touched so many lives with her smiles! Children’s Hospital has been so wonderful for us for in the beginning we had sooo hated the thought of traveling down and being there a day, a week or even 5 weeks to kind-of looking forward to seeing Dr. Girvin, Dr. Tersak, Dr. Scott Maurer that danced down the hall for her, Carol Mye , and the radiology group and many other doctors, nurses hospital transports heck even some of the cleaning people that came in every day, so many to keep going!! They all have been so wonderful for us!! And so many memories that make me smile laugh yeah there has been a lot of rough days there but they always tried to make her smile no mater what type of day she was having. She will be missed by so many down there as well! I personally will miss seeing so many faces down there. I could go on for a long time, but I just want to thank everyone for keeping Abbey and my family in your thought and prayers! A thought to leave with a smile…yesterday as we said our good byes to Abbey, I whispered in her ear to be with me and Allison and to help watch over us and to throw us a sign ever now and then, so wouldn’t you know when Allison and myself got into my truck after leaving the hospital the very FIRST song that played for us was the “Fight Song” I looked at Allison and said there is our first sign from Abbey
😊 as we sat and let the tears poor down!
With our love Jodie, Abbey and Allison
— with Abbey Schmader.”
And this picture.
That smile, man.
Cancer is fucking stupid.
So. There’s that.
Also, Mr. Ferry seems intent on finding me impromptu assignments when I’m attempting to recover from therapy.
What the hell, Ferry?
Anyhow, this morning’s was kinda cool.
“You available for a photo at the Historical Society right away? Only til 10.”
That was at 9:30.
It was more time to recover than I had the day of the Spelling Bee, at least. And I needed a few extra minutes today. It was kind of a rough one.
Anyhow, I got to the Historical Society to find Mrs. Ferry. She told me there were students upstairs in Victorian getups doing a project about Victorian etiquette.
Now, if I had been alive in Victorian times my etiquette would be what got me hung (hanged?) in the town square. But I was all up for taking a photo.
These kiddos were in it to win it, for sure.
They even got costumes from Warren Players.
It was pretty intense.
When I got to the top of the stairs I found one face I knew, one face I didn’t recognize that I knew, and three more I didn’t know.
“When it comes to complexion,” one girl recited into the boy’s camera, “the only good complexion is a pale one. The paler you are the wealthier you look.”
I look damn rich, then.
Anyhow, here’s the pictures. It was actually pretty perfect, as the Historical Society is a real live Victorian home.
I’ve been sort of messed up all day, between Abbey and trying to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to be nice to myself. I’ve been raised to be nice to everyone else but to be hard as hell on myself.
I want to be nice to myself.
I just really, really don’t know how.
I’m rolling my eyes right now.
You should be able to feel it.