Gracey with a Y.
I've mentioned her from time to time on this blog with her full permission. We started on our journey with cancer almost at the same time. I have/had skin cancer with lymph node involvement and she had MDS, a blood disorder. Our treatments were really different, surgery and radiation for me and chemo and stem cell transplant for her. But we cheered each other on whole heartedly. On the day of these pictures she drove me to my first radiation appointment but of course we went out for ice cream first.
Our usual ice cream shop was closed...
so we went to Dairy Queen and were just as happy.
This is us when the powers that be graciously decided that half the kids in Wellesley would be bussed to Elmira High School and our paths crossed.
Well it was probably a few years into high school before we meshed.
Before I discovered the wonderfully subversive, dry sense of humour that plumbed her depth. She could say something and you'd laugh and then you'd go home and think about it and laugh even harder. The beauty of it was that half the people in the room would have missed it altogether. And it was always kind. Amazing really.
Grade 11 is where my pictures deteriorate so you're only going to see Grace from now on :)
I made a video 3 years ago with yearbook pictures of a number of friends. I am NOT at liberty to include pictures of the other friends, some were a wee tad um, fashion forward at the time and that doesn't translate well in 2013.
Gracey was the only one of us that made the honour society.
Oh all right, here's me in grade 11. Are you happy?
I was never Grace's best friend and I was more than fine with that. That honor belonged, and always will, to Sandra with a J.
Can you see the mischievous glint in her eyes? Another stand up, awesome, knock down funny, friend. If there's a picture next to the word "friends" in the dictionary Grace and Sandy should be there. If you read this Sandra my heart grieves for your loss. I can't even begin to fathom it. And I don't ever want to.
But Grace had a wealth of friends, a vast network and now that she's gone I believe we'll find out just how many.
In grade 13 our gang had so many spares that we would play Euchre or try to get kicked out of the library - a goal that was eventually realized but sadly I missed because I was out on the phone. It was a pity eviction by the stern librarian who quite liked us, goody two shoes that we usually were. Or we'd walk down to Brox's for ice cream. On our last day of school I bet Grace that she couldn't eat 2 triple cones - I'd pay for both if she did. Grace loved a bargain as much, if not more than most, and won the bet. She admitted later that the bus ride home was not a lot of fun. So as you can see our ice cream outings were a long, fine tradition and I will miss them sorely.
Grace fought her illness with every fibre of her being. She fought it head on with intelligence, bravery and humour. Last Monday she had to miss dinner out with our high school gang but we sent her video exhortations:
Again, if I showed you the other ladies' before pictures I'd have to enter the witness protection plan.
In return Grace sent us pictures of her hair that had re grown since the stem cell transplant saying "Thanks to this chemo, "hair today, gone tomorrow" ...... Probably in a week or two it will be gone."
See what I mean? There was no give up in that girl.
This was the last picture on her BBM profile.
That means a lot of different things.
Hope of future celestial ice cream outings, hope for good lives for those of us here and it means never forgetting her fine example of never-give-upedness to the very end.
Grace knew she was loved and cherished by her family. She spoke of them often, her nieces and nephews especially. Like me she was fortunate to know the love of children without having any of her own.
She loved her job and I never heard one negative word about a co worker or her employer.
Grace was happy.
Gracey died on Monday and I will miss her forever.