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Remembering Lisa Bonchek Adams – & a Certain Purple Bloom

Like so many others, I was saddened to learn about the death of Lisa Bonchek Adams. I was also caught off guard. I had read her recent Facebook page post in which she stated, “Things are quite, quite serious…”, but yet, I thought she had more time; after all, things had been quite serious for Lisa for months, no, for years.

Maybe it’s just I had hoped she had more time. But it was not meant to be.

I’m still trying to absorb the fact that Lisa died, as are so many others. Lisa’s writings on her blog will be missed by many.

Lisa will be missed by many, including me.

Lisa’s posts were filled with clarity, wisdom, candor and frank honesty about metastatic breast cancer. Regular readers like me had come to anticipate, learn from and simply appreciate her writings for what they were and also for what they were not.

Another reason I was caught off guard by the news of Lisa’s death was because Lisa died on the very same date in March as my mother, March 6th.

For me, this date was already ‘taken’.

Cancer was crowding in on my day of loss and I wasn’t sure how to feel about this.

Two lives to grieve for. Taken on one day. The same day.

How could this be?

I’m not sure if such statements even makes sense to you, but it felt as if cancer had given me yet another jab to my heart.

This is the way with cancer. It jabs. Relentlessly.

But then, every death to metastatic breast cancer that I learn about (and even the ones I do not learn about) feels like another jab to my heart.

Again, this is the way with cancer. It jabs at your heart. 

Last #MetsMonday was the successful Stomp Out BC social media blitz. Many in the blogosphere made extra noise about metastatic breast cancer. We stomped. We ranted. We shared. We felt (more) heard. We felt (a bit more anyway) empowered.

This #MetsMonday, perhaps some of us feel “stomped” upon. Or rather our hearts do.

This is the way with cancer. It “stomps” on us too.

Once again, we will make time for the weeping, the ranting and the grieving.

But we will carry on each in our own way because this is what my mother, Rachel, Susan, Cheryl, Shelli, Barb, so many others, and now Lisa would want us to do. Carry on.

And we will keep sharing truths about metastatic breast cancer.

We will continue to honor all lives taken by this disease. We will continue to fight for better treatments and outcomes for those presently living with it. We will continue to strive toward making a metastatic diagnosis a rarity for those who come after us.

We will be loud. We will keep stomping.

And we will not forget.

What do you when you feel “stomped” upon?

What will you remember about Lisa Bonchek Adams?

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I chose to share the image below because the only ‘real’ conversation Lisa and I ever had was about the beautiful purple balloon flower in this photo that I took last summer in my garden. As many of you know, Lisa loved flowers and we chatted about this one. Whenever and where ever I see this lovely bloom again, I will think of Lisa. And I will remember.


Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC)

Saturday 14th of March 2015

It seems no matter how expected a death, it is nevertheless a profound shock when it happens. That someone who has been such an integral part of our lives, like our mothers, or someone like Lisa whose voice was so strong, is no longer in this world is a deeply sad and shocking experience. Thinking of you x


Sunday 15th of March 2015

Marie, Yes, a profound shock even when it's expected. That's exactly what it is. Every time. And so terribly sad. Thank you for your comment.

Beth L. Gainer

Friday 13th of March 2015

Hi Nancy,

I'm writing a post in memory of Lisa but it's very difficult to write. I am heartbroken and really don't have words to express my appreciation for her. I'm very sad.


Friday 13th of March 2015

Beth, It is difficult to write about the losses. With every one comes new waves of sadness. It's like it all just keeps building and we all know the losses will keep coming. But yet, we keep on writing and advocating precisely for that reason too. I look forward to your post. Take your time; the words will come when you are ready.


Thursday 12th of March 2015

Lisa's death is a huge loss to her family, of course, and to us in the breast cancer community. Bizarre that she died on the same day as your mom. I'm so sorry, Nancy. It's all so sad.


Thursday 12th of March 2015

Eileen, You're right, but of course every single death to mbc is a huge loss to the family impacted. Thank you for reading and for the kind words.


Wednesday 11th of March 2015

Nancy, I can only send you lots of love. And I can't help thinking of that February a few years ago when we all lost both Rachel Cheetham Moro and Susan Niebur on the same day. I thought my heart would just crumble to bits. We all thought they had more time, that we had more time with them...

Our hearts are all weighted with loss.


Thursday 12th of March 2015

Kathi, I know you understand all too well. Yes, that was a rough February and February was already a loaded month for me. Thanks for stopping by. Loved received. Thank you.


Tuesday 10th of March 2015

I felt caught off guard too. Even though I had been reading the same updates as you. Just a punch in the gut. When I first saw the news I had hoped it was a hoax. And I just couldn't believe it. I tend to pull inwards when things like this happen, to shut the world out, but I'm trying to not do that this time. And I'm trying to post something each day with #FindBeauty, as a way to remember her, keep her spirit going, to remember that life can be so incredibly unfair and sad, and yet have such powerful moments of beauty, of friendship, of tenderness.


Tuesday 10th of March 2015

Brandie, Sometimes we do want to pull inward and try to shut out the world. It's a kind of self-preservation I guess. I'm glad you are trying not to do that though and your recent post was a wonderful example of how you are keeping your heart open even though there is chance for more pain when one does that. The post really struck a chord with many readers. I like your idea of posting daily with #findbeauty. Lovely idea. Thank you for reading and sharing.

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