Compassionate (this eulogy she gave for her chemo buddy is the paradigm of how it can be done with grace and humor).
Insightful (as in her book, How Can I Help? Everyday Ways to Help Your Loved One Live with Cancer, with practical advice for the people who ask the question and for those who have to answer it).
Practical (as in her book, written with Hope Ricciotti, The Real Life Body Book: A Young Woman's Complete Guide to Health and Wellness).
And above all courageous. Who else could write a hilarious book called The Courage Muscle: A Chicken's Guide to Living with Breast Cancer?
All of these books written, by the way, post-diagnosis.
Monique came to visit a few days after my husband was diagnosed with his terminal cancer, she in her 8th, or 18th, or 80th, it seemed, year of endurance. Metastatic breast cancer. She who was in treatment herself came to visit one who was about to enter the world of chemo and radiation and blood counts and tumor markers. In spite of all she was going through, she had the will to visit someone just beginning.
Before all this, Monique and I had become friends, principally on the phone, which is an excellent way to get to the heart of things. Which we did. Then, after Jeff began receiving treatment, we were often on that floor of the hospital that no one wanted to visit at the same time, which gave us time for more visits, more deepening.
Last week, I'd heard from Monique's childhood friend, Stuart Sadick, also a friend of mine, that the end was near... and I just saw that it had come on his Facebook page. Late last night.
A lot of people are crying today... and laughing. Thank you, dear person, for redefining a whole category of experience.
I wish Dr. Seuss were around to write a rhyme for this phenom. It would have to begin...
As different as different as different can be
Her name was Monique and she was so fun-ny...