I don’t apologise for using the title of someone else’s blog today http://sitemanagergal.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/another-post-i-didnt-want-to-type/
I could never have imagined that I would be sitting down writing this. No sooner had I published my blog yesterday than I received the awful awful news of the passing of Hannah, aged just 30. Probably know to most of you as @sitemangergal on Twitter, Hannah and I never met, although she did threaten to take me shopping on more than one occasion. We did however exchange messages when it really mattered. I left a comment after her latest and final blog entry. It’s still awaiting moderation. Just from the comments in her blog, I knew that things had taken a turn for the worse, far worse than any of us imagined, although I suspect Hannah knew herself. Hannah was never one to shout from the rooftops about her illness. She didn’t need to tell everyone how ill she was, how much worse her cancer was than many others, or seek sympathy over the way cancer had truly devastated her life. Although she was a regular Tweeter, you could not say she was prolific, and rarely were her tweets about herself.
I can’t recall when it was that Hannah and I began our exchange of personal messages. We both had blogs in common, and of course bowel cancer. As cancer patients we often receive words of encouragement from others, but Hannah’s messages always stood out. She had a different type of empathy, always had the right words to say, always at the right time, and you knew that her words came straight from the heart. Hannah had experienced everything that I had been through – and more. Whenever I had surgery, you could guarantee that one of the last messages I received before ‘going down’ would be from Hannah “Thinking of you” or something like that. The last was just prior to my first lung operation in February, even though she was now becoming seriously ill herself, she still found time to message me. For a while our chemotherapy appointments would coincide, we would tweet each other during treatment, we had our own little chemoclub, both going through the same experience at the same time. Even though we were hundreds of miles apart, our beds could have been next to each other. I was lucky in that I slept through most of my chemotherapy, but on more than one occasion I would be awoken by my phone, and a message from Hannah “How’s it going?” More often than not silly comments, but enough to remind me that Hannah was thinking of me. “I’m painting my nails” or “ the person down the ward is really annoying me”. She once told me I had no right to sleep whilst she was having to endure the stupidity of other patients relatives. She would joke about how I was on the ‘posh ward’ because I had a room on my own due to the fact that I was on a drug trial. She would remind me of Glastonbury, keeping me focused when chemo wasn’t going so well. And she was there in the middle of the night, when neither of us were getting any sleep.
Hanna’s blog could easily be misinterpreted. Yes she was angry, but she was angry with cancer and she had every right to be so. Hannah loved life, and yet it has been so cruelly taken away from her. She loved her boyfriend, her weekends away. She loved work, and wanted nothing more than to return. She did so on a number of occasions,d each time having to give up because of her illness. She loved shopping, she loved shoes, painting her nails,she enjoyed being beautiful and she certainly excelled in that. She was far more beautiful than she ever knew, and her beauty was deep, running throughout her body, even those horrible cancer cells that eventually killed her.
Acquaintances or relationships on social media can be so fickle, which is why I valued knowing Hannah so much. We didn’t communicate that much, but when I heard from Hannah I knew that every word she spoke was 100% genuine. When I heard the awful news on Sunday I began shaking, followed by tears for an hour or more, but more than anything there was anger. Angry because of her age. Anger because she had been misdiagnosed. The tears were maybe tears of fear, because the death of Hannah has only demonstrated just how vulnerable we really are, particularly when we think we are getting better. I’ll be joining the long queue of people who were touched by Hannah during her brief life. Writing it down is my own way of coping with it, and I don’t have the patience of painting my nails, anyway she always told me it wouldn’t suit me !
I feel blessed that I am just one of the many people who’s life has been made better by coming into contact with her. Hannah, you will be truly truly missed. xxx