What is it about death that makes us grieve? It can't be any kind of concern for the well-being of the one who passed away… Well, ok, maybe it can if you believe in hell and heaven and those kinds of things. But really, they, the deceased, are done. They aren't hurting, laughing, crying, missing you… any of those things. In the case of my beloved Chemo Princess, she's not sick any longer. There is no more fight to endure.

I think grieving is a selfish thing. It's not about them, it's about us. How much we will miss the person, how we feel cheated and robbed of the opportunity to build further bonds and create connections with that person… but that's okay. I mean, we all know it is so unhealthy to lose someone and not grieve. Our lives are pretty inherently selfish, anyway, no matter how selfless we try to be. Even the act of losing oneself in service to God is a very gratifying act for the individual. Those who indulge in self-flagellation to make up for supposed wrongs or to score points with God do so out of a motivation of self… a desire for security, eternal or temporary.

Then again, maybe that's why death is so hard. We opened up our selfish little spheres and brought someone else in. We connected with them, we made ourselves uncomfortable for them at times, we let our lives be about something other than us… and now that's gone. Now we're just a little more selfish than we were… or are we? Does it take a living person to form a connection? Does that connection just vanish once the person is no longer breathing, once the heartbeat stops? I don't know. I don't think so, though… Although no further connections can be made, really, death cannot erase what was. As long as one of you is alive and remembering, the connection stays.

Memories. A way to live on after dying. And what a fragile place to live… memories are so delicate, subject to change and repression and fabrication… But isn't it strange that you can make new memories with someone who doesn't live any longer? I know J created a set of new memories with her father D at her wedding, even though he had been gone for months. But she brought him into the event, and there he was. The plant that I brought home from his memorial… it thrives and blooms like nobody's business. I still have that connection to D with his plant, but he doesn't know it. I do. I am making memories with… a plant… but also with D, because I have connected it to him in my mind, therefore he is still a part of my life.

Our minds are strange places. So are the plains of our soul, littered with emotions, the topography constantly changing. You could get lost inside yourself and never make it back out.

It might be pretty plain by now that the Chemo Princess hung up her wand and tiara. Last night, in fact. I felt no disturbance of the Force, no sudden sadness… but I do today. I grieve, knowing that we will make no new memories together. Knowing that her husband no longer has a wife and her children no longer have a mother… at least, not one that can interact with them any longer. I rejoice because she isn't sick anymore. I rejoice that she is done with pain. I rejoice that she fought hard and well and no longer has to be a warrior. But I also grieve… because she was the warrior I looked to for strength. And if she's gone, how will I keep fighting? I am also feeling some twinges of anger. Yes, I am angry… not that she is gone, but that she is gone and I am still here and sick and have to keep fighting for I don't know what reason… simply because those around me would be sad if I died? What a reason to fight… it's both laughable and honorable. I am angry because she gets relief and I don't. I am angry because this is the second amazing human being with SO MUCH to contribute to the world that has been lost to cancer inside of a year out of those that I love. I am angry because she had a specific enemy to fight--cancer--and I don't.

She and I were kindred spirits. Hippies, lover of good music, theater, sparkly things, tie dye, gypsy wagons… and now I must carry on alone. I have lost a comrade, a mentor, a friend… and I am grieving.

Even in the midst of her battle, she is beautiful.

The family's message of love and support for the Chemo Princess about a year ago.

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