– To Do Before –

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live” Stuart Scott

I was recently sitting at Angela’s desk looking for something and found one of her many lists. Ange had been making lists for years to hep with the effects of treatment. This one was titled – To Do Before –

I was hit with my initial sense of panic and questioned if I wanted to read this. After closing my eyes, deep breathing to relax, and talking out loud to Ange, my answer was yes. I don’t know when she made this list, but believe it may have been the past year. She had also asked me to make a list of things I wanted her to do.

The first item on the list was : Laugh.

I was struck by that. I wonder if she may have written this as a reminder to herself. She struggled in the past year with significant health challenges and changes; physical, emotional, and spiritual. This may have been her reminder to continue to find joy in those small moments. A reminder that is those joyful moments, as we both believed and she had learned, Angela was cured of cancer.

I wonder if it was also meant for those of use whose lives Angela touched, to find time to laugh amidst our grief.

Laughter was an important part of Angela’s life, finding joy in life both before and after cancer. She laughed often with joy during good times throughout her life. Angela’s laugh has always brought me joy and laughing together would fill my heart.

Laughter is also how we got through the harder times. Often during our drives home from Boston, after receiving news we didn’t want to hear, the humor would turn dark, but we would laugh. Laughter could be more helpful than the tears, sadness, anger, frustration and sense of being overwhelmed. Although there was plenty of that, there was still and always laughter. Angela was often told by people reading her blog that they would laugh and cry at the same time. I remember some chuckles as I sat by her bedside with a few of her friends, holding her hand and sharing stories. As Angela has said, “Laughter is healing.”

One afternoon, I was sitting in Angela’s rocker on her patio, writing in my journal about the list. It was one of those beautiful, peaceful afternoons, baby robins chirping as mama fed them, birds singing and critters scampering in the woods. The first dragonfly of the season landed on the table next to me and just stat on the edge watching me. Then a female cardinal arrived on the fence and sat watching me. I spoke to both of them and asked if I should make this a blog. I felt Angela’s big hug around me giving her approval to blog about her list and laughter.

There were many other items on her list. The one’s you would expect: lawyer, Life Ceremony, items to gift , tattoos she still wanted and others. But the first item was laugh.

It has been 2 years since Angela’s last blog. She started many but was never able to finish. Writing, which Angela loved, had become a struggle due to the effects of cancer and treatments. She would never post anything unless she was 100% happy with the result.

As an “observer” over the past 7 years Angela lived with cancer, one of the hardest things to watch is how the disease steals little bits of a person, making every day tasks and enjoyable activities more of a challenge. We spoke of this often. However, being Angela, she always found a was around the lost fragments to something better, but could not find a way around writing.

Angela is sending little, subtle messages and big bold, mischievous reminders that she is still with us and still laughing. Through our collective grief, there is comfort in that. With an open heart, Angela and Oskar will always be with us and she will always be laughing.

Angela Amoroso 4/5/79 – 3/21/21

Posted bu Carol Hordis

18 thoughts on “– To Do Before –

  1. Carol,
    Your strength is amazing. I guess I know how Angela become a great writer…..
    Reading your post brought tears and joy……you always find the best in every situation. I’m so grateful to be part of your circle. You are an inspiration to all you touch.

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    1. Joyce, Thank you for your positive comments and for your support. I am grateful and thankful you are in my circle.

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  2. I cannot say I knew Angela, having only met the two of you once, on the French Polynesia expedition. I was, however, so impressed by Angela’s honesty about her disease and the journey she was on because of it that subsequent to the trip, I read all of her blogs & hoped she would have the opportunity to write many more. When I saw Beauty & the Dark show up on my email today, I thought, perhaps, she had. Instead, you’ve written an achingly beautiful remembrance that brings her back & continues her spirit. I’m so grateful for your post. It shows such a deep & abiding love for a daughter by her mother and that love is made even more expansive when shared. My deepest sympathy on her loss. 💔

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    1. Diana, Thank you for your lovely comments and remembrance of our wonderful French Polynesian adventure. We talked about the trip often, wonderful people we met, and we were just looking at photos again this winter. She would be happy to know you read and enjoyed her blog. The beauty of how she lived her life touched so many. Thank you.

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  3. Carol,
    So beautifully written; laughter was always Angela.
    Ever time I see a cardinal, Ange is also there in spirit. Much love and blessings. Patti

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  4. Angela had a depth of strength I never realized she possessed until this happened. It was spiritual warrior energy helping her navigate through adversity and adapt as she went. I too remember her laugh and how her face looked when she laughed and how I felt laughing with her. I can’t explain how much it hit me – your words of what the journey is like to live with someone you love whose illness is stealing bits and parts of them. As you say, Ange found ways to get through those challenges to live her life to the fullest.

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    1. Terri, Thank you for for beautifully written comments and for always being such a source of support for Angela. I hope the garden continues to thrive despite the summer heat. Carol

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  5. Angela’s grace and wit was an inspiration to us all. A true warrior against this horrible disease. Thank you for sharing this post. Your beautiful words are beaming with a love that only a mother and daughter share. Praying you continue to find strength and peace in every day.

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  6. Dear Carol,

    I was just about to write that you beautifully captured Angela’s spirit, but then I thought, yes it was a beautifully written tribute, but her spirit remains as free as always. I can see right this moment a dragon fly that is on the top railing of my deck looking at me through the window as intently as I am looking at it. We lingered in that gaze for a while before it lifted itself away into the morning air. I suspect it was a message from Angela that her spirit remains forever free and as irrevocably curious as always. Thank you for for this heartfelt tribute. I miss her.

    Jan

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    1. Jan, Thanks for your beautiful comments and thoughts. So happy to hear that Angela has been visiting you and a comfort to know that her spirit is still with us. I miss her also. Carol

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  7. How beautiful! I wish I had known Angela in person but I have read her blog in its entirety. An amazing women. I will wear a ribbon for her on my PMC ride. May she always send reminders that her spirit is alive.

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    1. Janet, Thank you for wearing a ribbon for Angela. Glad to hear that you are still riding. She will be with you. Thank you for reading her blog. I would agree, she was amazing. Carol

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  8. Carol, I just learned about the passing of your beloved daughter and found my way to this blog. I remember you sharing details of some of the wonderful trips you took with Angela and mentioning that she had issues with her health. I didn’t ask at the time because I didn’t want you to think I was prying. Carol, my heart goes out to you. I am sending love your way and wishing you peace and comfort in the beautiful memories of your precious Angela.

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