Happiness Is…

Resolute resilience.

Squished into a Starbucks stuffed with newborns and Nikes, I was first treated to the boisterous laugh and generous smile of my friend, Caroline.

It was 1999. We were beginner moms. Bandying blunders. Trading tips. Loving our new lives.

Life soon got busy and our paths untwined.

Almost ten years later, we happened to reconnect. Just in time for Caroline’s cancer diagnosis, three months of us helping as best we could, and then mine.

During these unexpected detours of ours, Caroline’s determination to defeat this disease, her astounding achievements of mind over matter and her generous wisdom and support have filled me with admiration, inspiration, gratitude and hope.

Despite ominous odds, Caroline is completely cancer free.

Today, I had the honour of celebrating the beginning of her new life.

Her new, improved life.

Lucky me.

Please stand and hum “The Final Countdown”.

About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

  • p.s.

    Dear Caroline, editor extraordinaire,

    If you should happen to read this post, please do not cringe and lunge for your red pen over my extreme over-use of words life and live. I had no choice. Life and live's exactly what it's about.

  • I could almost hear the delicate “klunk” of the Bell of Hope from my office downtown.

    Congratulations, Caroline. You can't imagine how excited we are, and how you inspired us throughout your journey. We look forward to many years of close family ties, celebrating each day and birthday. April 1 and April 7 will never be the same!

  • Andrea, I spent a fair bit of time reading and looking at your beautiful blog and thinking about you today. And then I saw you! I was walking my dogs along the canal just behind you and your pooch – just too far to hear if I called out. The path would turn and I would lose sight of you and then you'd reappear. You're much faster than I am, so I couldn't catch up but I'm sure that I got a better workout for trying.
    There some kind of metaphor in there, I'm sure about paths and connectedness…
    I am raising a glass now of sparkling water in tribute to you and to Caroline and to every one of us who has faced cancer with grace, determination, humour and a commitment to living life to its fullest.
    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. I am sure that you have touched more people than you know.
    Laurie xo

  • Laurie,

    Thank you so much for taking time to catch up with our journey, for your kind thoughts and for this lovely note. I do hope our paths cross next time, because right now I want to give you a big, big hug.

    Wishing you continued healing and much happiness. You are an inspiration.


  • steve

    YES! Good news should be the only news.
    I love this post.

  • Jay

    A lovely tribute Andrea. I'm very happy for both you and Caroline!

  • Thanks, Steve.

  • Thank you, Jay. I'm happy too.

  • Caroline

    Dearest Andrea, Thank you so much for this touching tribute. I know we reconnected to help each other on this journey, and we have.

    You and Mark and Lucy and Bayla were truly the first of many friends to step forward to help me, even before my diagnosis. You were so positive and loving, and took special care of my three children while I tried to gather my strength and fight with everything I had.

    I have learned so much from you — about courage, about asking questions, about standing up for yourself and being heard, about sharing my story freely to help others where I could. (Not nearly so eloquently, thoroughly, and beautifully as through your blog.) And you have had the grace to accept the things that I felt were important to pass on to help you, which also helped with my healing.

    What I have learned most of all is that life is about love, enjoying and being present in the moment. We both have the gift of love in our lives and are truly blessed.

    In closing, in the (abbreviated, and some added by me) words of Andrew Gold:

    Thank you for being a friend
    Traveled down the road and back again
    your heart is true you're a pal and a confidant

    I'm not ashamed to say
    I hope it always will stay this way
    My hat is off, won't you stand up and take a bow

    And if you threw a party
    Invited everyone you knew
    You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
    and the card attached would say,
    Thank you for being a friend

    If it's a car you lack
    I'd surely buy you a cadillac
    Whatever you need, anytime of the day or night

    And when we both get older (And we will!)
    With walking canes and hair of gray (We will be pulling up each other's support hose)
    Have no fear, even though it's hard to hear
    I will stand real close and say,
    Thank you for being a friend

    And when we die (40 years from now!!!) and float away
    Into the night, the Milky Way
    You'll hear me call, as we ascend
    I'll see you there, then once again
    Thank you for being a friend

    (I want to thank you)
    Thank you for being a friend

  • Caroline! You made me laugh. You made me cry. You made me long to be 85 and pulling up each other's support hose!

    Thank you, Caroline. For everything.

    ps. way to go figuring out how to leave a comment!!! ;o)

  • Caroline

    I know. It only took 3 attempts!!! This time I threw aside the i-pod and went to the computer just in case. 😀

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