Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Where was I during part of this hiatus? Dealing with the loss of one of the ya-yas. Some might argue the ultimate ya-ya. Candy passed away after a 10 year battle with Breast Cancer. In many ways, she beat so many odds. She was diagnosed with a stage IV recurrence about 5 years ago. Stage four, as many who've watched Elizabeth Edwards on the news, means the cancer has spread to parts of the body. Candy spent years in chemo after chemo, hormone therapy, drugs for colon cancer or HIV or whatever she could get her hands on. Candy kept fighting to the end. Now she's at peace.

Candy is one of the first people I remember from my original trip to the ya-yas. She was the first one to tout this amazing drug. She knew everything. She had done research, talked to doctors. She was in complete control. And she did not suffer fouls. I loved that about her. I'm not really a "sunshine up your ass" kind of girl. And Candy was totally type-A. She planned everything. And well. She even planned her own funeral. And it was beautiful.

One of my favorite stories about Candy was when I was assigned to bake something for a recpetion the ya-yas. Cancdy was in charge, as she usually was and I had strict instructions on how to cut the bars into 1 inch squares. I recevied my recipe in the mail, complete with directions to garnish it with mint springs. And a silver tray, not cheap plastic shit. I hadn't been a part of the ya-yas for very long, and while I was concerend with the depth of detail, I was also scared to death of doing any way other than what Candy told me to do. I had visions of the wrath of a Southern lady. And Candy was a lady in a way many aren't anymore. Accomplished, grcious - hiding a backbone of steel.

When Candy was starting to go downhill, I offered to be her personal bitch. She enjoyed that, I think. I told her I would be more than willing to pick up her pain dugs for her- for a small cut, of course. When I saw her for the last time, she looked and me and plain as day said, "I feel like shit." No excuses. No blowing smoke. She was who she was. A women who loved as hard as she fought. A woman who took no prisoners and no bullshit. A woman who planned a party as well as she planned her life. On her own terms.

Candy showed me how to live and how to die. With such grace and dignity. At her funeral, the catherdral was packed. Hers was a life well lived. A life where she led by example. A life that affected so many people. That can't be bad. Candy showed me how to do it right. She was right about almost everything.

While I didn't know Candy veyr long, she is forever in my heart. She was the general in our group of soldiers, leading us to live our lives better and fuller. Not to let cancer win. Ever.

We miss you.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your general - she sounds like one helluva woman. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. AJ

Anonymous said...

She sounds amazing. You sound amazing talking about her. This is your thing - not talking about death. I don't mean that. Talking about life, cancer, life w/cancer, health care, feeling yourself up, backing it up with the good author, getting chubby, fllying on zip cords. You're the poo, woman, is what I'm trying to say. and I do so hope you get to shows some scars and crack some GOP skulls. That would be cool indeed.