She had been diagnosed with breast cancer two summers ago, but I'd had no idea because we mostly knew each other only through our businesses.
I later learned that she had heavily researched healthy treatment options and ended up choosing a cancer center in another state. She stayed there for three months in an attempt to heal using alternative methods.
She returned to town just a few weeks before my diagnosis, so as I was enduring my own bout with cancer last summer, she offered helpful tips and shared her own story of hope.
She resumed working two jobs, running 2 on-line businesses, making jewelry, and was in the beginning stages of remodeling an old school bus to live in as her own Tiny House.
She felt healthy and looked vibrant during last summer and fall.
As winter turned to spring, she casually mentioned on Facebook that she had cracked a rib while working on her bus renovation.
Several weeks later, I was scrolling through my news feed when I noticed a GoFundMe account with her picture attached.
Stunned, I messaged her. Is it true? Is the cancer back??
Yes, it was.
In fact, cancer was the reason for the cracked rib, and now it was taking up space all over her body.
My heart sank.
And it was hitting waaaay too close to home.
Her BFF set up a round-the-clock bedside vigil to keep her company, so I began to visit her. I was initially shocked to see how much weight she had lost, but she was still able to accompany me downstairs where we talked about her life in this new stage of cancer metastasis.
That was in mid-June.
I just didn't believe at that time that cancer was most likely going to claim her life. She seemed hopeful about her next healing option, and it seemed so attainable.
And despite her condition, she still looked and sounded so...alive.
Several days went by before I visited her again, and this time she was bed-ridden, but she was still bright and cheery as I walked into the room.
Over the next hour, it was also apparent that she struggled a bit finding the right words to get her point across.
Sometimes it was even hilarious. Or poignant. Her friend shared with me that one day she told the people in her room, "There is plenty of plenty."
I was still hopeful that her dire outcome was going to turn itself around.
Upon my return from a week-long vacation at the end of June, I immediately went to see her.
She recognized me instantly, but this time she was definitely more sleepy. I mostly chatted with another friend who had shown up at the same time, then kissed her g'bye, confident I'd see her again.
Two days later, she was on my mind throughout the day and I thought about going by to see her again, but I didn't.
I felt strangely happy, even giddy, for most of that day.
As I ran my errands, she was not far from my thoughts, which made me feel enormously grateful for the life I was living.
I was grateful for the boring errands I had to run; the ability to drive on my own and pay for groceries and clothes without a financial struggle; grateful for the sunshine, and my crazy work hours, and my beautiful home with a stunning water view.
I felt giddy in love. With LIFE.
Because it was so damn obvious that my friend was stuck in bed with few options. She was able to swallow to stay hydrated, listen to soothing music, and speak a few sentences before returning to sleep.
But despite those limitations, she was still smiling, talking, and giggling at her morphine-induced language.
At least that's the way I had remembered her.
The next morning, I received a text that my friend had passed away peacefully, and without pain, at 11:07 the previous night.
Lyn's passing reminds me that I can live my life feeling giddy and in love with what I have, even in the mundane, boring tasks and moments.
I choose life. I choose happiness. I choose fun. I choose contentment in the small moments. I choose bliss.
I choose plenty of plenty.
I hope you do, too, because there really is no guarantee for tomorrow.
My bout with cancer showed me that we are all closer to death than we realize, and I believe it's our responsibility to live every moment cherishing our gift of life.
So as I mourn the loss of a vibrant friend who passed much too early, I have just one question for you:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver