Something Beautiful

For me, reading is one of the joys of life. I love it. More than television shows or movies or magazines. There is just something about literature that gets me. I love that I can escape into a novel; that I can befriend the characters, that when the book ends, I feel like I have lost a friend. I love that books can move me, make me cry, make me happy. Books are simply amazing to me.

I always been a reader, reading dozens of books a year and my time away has given me even more time to read. I read on the tram everyday, I read before bed, I read on flights and train rides. I READ. And, I love it. Working temp jobs has, for the most part, been pretty boring but the silver lining has been that I get to read a lot! Some days I even get to read for eight hours straight and on those days, I can usually get through a book. Last week, I was in one of those very jobs and I read a book by one of my go-to chick-lit authors, Jane Green. The book, ‘’The Love Verb’’ tells a sweet story of friendship, love and loss. I cried – big tears, at work. It was good and it moved me (like all good books do) and at the end of the book, the author had the loveliest note about what the book was based on and I just had to type it up because it is one of the nicest things I have ever read. I have already passed the book on (as I do) but I decided to post the dedication here so that I will have it forever. If I am ever lucky enough to have someone right something like this for me (hopefully not for a long long time), I will know that I did something right. So here is Jane Green’s dedication; something beautiful:

Heidi’s Story

To borrow the words of Erich Segal:

“What can you say about a forty-three-year-old girl who died?”

That she was beautiful. And brilliant.

And brave.

That she loved, in no particular order, and among other things: her children, her husband and soul mate of twenty-four-years, break-up pieces of Munson’s chocolate, clothes from Lucy’s, her family, haggling to get a bargain (although she never did manage to get the lamp at Bungalow down to the right price), her cottage on the lake in Canada, her camp girls, the Fab Five, Beef Negimaki Bento Boxes as Matsu, skiing, Heidi’s Angels, Art Smarts, coaching her son’s soccer team.

That she had a smile that lit up the world. That her glass was always half full. That she only ever saw the good in people, in life, in any situation that came her way, and that she had more joie de vivre than anyone I have ever met.

Heidi didn’t just live life. She sparkled.

She was an extraordinary friend. Through thick and thin, she was always there, offering tremendous wisdom, common sense, support and love.

I caller her the Eskimo on my blog because when it snowed here in the winter she would take her children outside and build quizhees (snow houses) with them – something she learned to do as a child in Toronto.

She knew everything about survival: you could dump her in a rainforest with a pocketknife and backpack, and I guarantee that a year later she would be thriving, probably having built a small village.

But she couldn’t survive the cancer that swept through her body like wildfire over seven months.

I was with her almost every day throughout her illness. One day, as we left the hospital, she turned to me and said, with a twinkle in her eye, ‘I hope you’re going to write this.’

And so I did.

Callie is not Heidi, nor is this Heidi’s story, although there are some details that are the same. Primarily, that Heidi fell into the tiny percentage of cancer suffers who contract Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis.

As for Steffi and Lila, it was a privilege and an honour for me to accompany my friend on this most heart-breaking of journeys. Her courage, her laughter and her grace taught me extraordinary lessons about life. And love.

Despite dedicating Girl Friday to Heidi, this is the book that is really for her, the book that was written with an angel on my shoulder.

She leaves an indelible handprint on all our hearts, and I shall miss her for the rest of my life.

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