What I wasn't at all prepared for was the reality that when you write a book whose readers include cancer patients, some of your readers aren't going to survive long. The first time I heard that someone who'd read Mom's Cancer had died, I was startled. I don't know why. And now I've just learned of the passing of Lynne White, who was a long-time supporter of Mom's Cancer and frequent commenter on my blog. I knew she was a cancer survivor but, to coin a cliche, I didn't even know she was that sick.
Lynne struck me as a tireless engine of enthusiasm and delight. Some of her comments to my blog are nothing more than encouraging exclamations: "I am so thrilled for you!" "Brian, this is wonderful!" She corresponded with my mother and lifted her spirits tremendously. She was also an artist and cartoonist herself, and we passed some notes about technique. Her cartoon character was a dog named "Pogo," and she was kind enough to send Kid Sis a copy of a self-published Pogo book that was then passed on to me. Some of Lynne's other artwork is still available on her blog.
Here's a message Lynne sent to my Mom during a rough time in May 2005:
"Yes, dwell on what is good, whole and right. Live for this day.
Allow yourself your feelings; let the anger out, ask for what you need, and feel the sunshine.
Peace to Lynne and her family as well.
P.S.: I sent a draft of this post to Lynne's daughter Jill for her approval and permission to use Lynne's art. Jill replied, in part:
"My mom once said to me that she never wanted anyone to say about her that 'she lost her battle with cancer' as this is a common phrase that is often uttered regarding someone's death. For this, to her, implied some sort of failure. She never failed, she just had to leave us a bit sooner than we all would have liked. So as you think of your mother and her disease, just remember that it takes an incredibly strong person to be knocked down time and time again, and still be able to pick themselves up repeatedly. No one would should ever consider that as loss, rather a strong spirit that won many times, they just walked away when they were ready."