We were able to speak freely with each other about what that meant. How we were so grateful for this life, but how it’s still difficult sometimes. We talked about how pain affected us daily, how sometimes life is so unfair, and how blessed we were to have our husbands.
Our friendship grew rapidly on a foundation of mutual respect, understanding, wine, and laughter. She GOT me. She understood me. Here was a person who understood exactly how I was feeling. It’s rare to find that person.
A few years ago, she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. A year later, I was, too. Our friendship deepened, thrown into another crazy twist in life.
Again, she understood how I was feeling — always. We were able to complain during our difficult days, and hang out on our better days. We took trips with our husbands, went out for dinners, got dressed up for events, and spent a great New Year’s Eve together.
We began to schedule our doctors’ appointments together. We had the same disease, the same doctors. It made sense. We’d take notes for each other. We would mourn when one of us got bad news, and celebrate when the other got good news.
Drea was a fierce, fiery soul. She faced so many health issues in her life. She hurt, she struggled, she fought. To the very end.
I’m not sure I can describe how great a friend, wife, mother, and sister she was. She was loyal and welcoming. She was determined and stubborn. She was beautiful, inside and out. She was never one to say no to watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” or having a mimosa cocktail. She soaked up life in all its painful glory.
Drea passed away a few days ago. The news shook me, even though I knew it would come. Her absence immediately left a giant hole in my heart. I am so happy she’s no longer in pain, or struggling to breathe. But selfishly, I wish she were still here.
I will founder for a while. I will reach out, trying to grasp what we had, trying to find someone who understands me as easily as she did — and I won’t find them. Because they won’t be Drea. I’ve lost a piece of the foundation that was keeping me together.
So, my vow today is to live for Drea. To carry her memory wherever I go. I promise to try and do all the things she wanted to do, but was unable to. I’ll live big, inspired by her.
Loss is hard. Grief is hard. Life itself is sometimes hard, too. Be sure to tell those important people in your life how much they mean to you. Tell them you love them — often.
Do the things you’re scared to do. Love hard. Be bold. Live big. Like Drea did.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.