Look at this woman.
This is a picture of Lisa taken last year at her first triathlon. She kicked cancer in the ass and then did a triathlon to say “Suck it, cancer!” And then she did it AGAIN.
And she was doing great. She was training for her first half-marathon and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society on the way. She had all kinds of healthy running buddies. She traveled to Alaska. She made her own curtains. She was developing a cookbook based on the dishes she created using a Himalayan salt block. She was back at work, saving babies and creating an infrastructural database of premature baby complications that would make the world better.
She made the world better. And I’m writing this now because she is gone.
On Thursday afternoon I got a phone call that I wanted the caller to immediately take back. I wanted the phone to unring. Just that tiny amount of time – before the phone call and after – is enough to change a person’s entire life.
Lisa had gone to bed on Wednesday night and didn’t get up again. She had been healthy and happy, and then she died.
Since Thursday afternoon I have been spreading the word to our mutual friends using the phone, facebook, and texting.
I spent yesterday with her family and another close friend, continuing to notify friends and colleagues and also going through Lisa’s house and her computer looking for the important documents that will make wrapping up her earthly life a little bit less chaotic. But dude. Nobody at age 40 knows this is going to happen, so those documents weren’t necessarily located in obvious places. By midafternoon, my head hurt and I wanted a nap and a drink and I just felt like calling her or texting her to say WHERE THE EFF DID YOU PUT YOUR IMPORTANT PAPERS?!
I had a whole imaginary text conversation in my head with Lisa, in which she told me that her foot doesn’t hurt anymore, in Heaven you automatically know how to fly, but you have to take lessons to learn salsa dancing. And the truffles and coffee are truly to die for.
Lisa’s Facebook page blew up yesterday. The girl is huge. There were 350 messages of grief and love up there by last night, and the Twitterverse has been spreading the word and using the link to her fundraising page. She’s huge on the internet, and it sucks that all of that happened after she died. But I guess our gadgets and our social media give us more ways to cope with loss, by creating a worldwide virtual group hug where we can cry alone but know that we aren’t really alone. This one amazing person was the hub at the center of a wonderful wheel.
I had her phone and computer at my disposal yesterday, looking up phone numbers of far-flung friends and canceling her upcoming appointments. I kept wanting to actually send that text. But if she texted me back, then I would have really lost it.
Services for Lisa Kelly will be held Thursday – Friday, November 10 – 11. Please contact me if you are a local friend and you want to join us in our tribute to her.