My friend Ursel Douglas lost her battle with cancer this morning. 

A natural leader, Ursel always had a smile, a laugh, an encouraging word for newbies and old friends alike.  She was a powerful force, an inspiration, and a woman who knew just how to seize the joy in life.

I met Ursel the first time I attended a Young Women With Cancer group last summer.  I was nervous and newly-diagnosed, not knowing what to expect.  She was sparkly and encouraging and welcoming, and her presence made me feel welcome at group and not so alone at treatments later that Fall. 

We didn’t know each other outside of the hospital, but inside of the hospital we were sure to greet each other, to catch up in the hallways, to compliment each other on our hats.

Ursel was always ready with a smile.  Nothing fazed her.  Not cancer, not recurrence, not metastasis, not weekly chemo.  She had the appointment before mine on Thursday mornings, and we often showed up to the lab together to have our blood tested before the infusions were okayed.  We’d share a laugh and catch up and part with mutual good wishes and sometimes hugs.

Ursel was a friend to many, through group and through life, but I want to capture just a bit of my memories of her here.  She was an amazing woman.

Last summer, she went on vacation to the Carribean, because she wanted to, and she resumed treatment afterwards. 

She wore the most amazing wig, highlighted and all, and looked better than I ever expected “a cancer patient” to look. 

She taught me that “cancer patient” does not equal weakness, and “chemo” does not mean putting your life on hold, and that you can be vibrant even when you’re sick.

She welcomed everyone to group, and knew just what to say in the face of our fears. 

She was a strong woman, and one that I aspired to emulate, to walk through this cancer journey with half her grace. 

She walked through life with a spirit that shone to all she met, and one that will live on.

Her body lost the battle with cancer this morning.  Her spirit, however, will live on.


35 Responses to Ursel

  1. Jess says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. She sounded like an amazing woman who will be greatly missed.

  2. oh, WM. i’m sorry. this was a lovely tribute to her.

  3. She She says:

    I’m sorry. She’s sounds wonderful.

  4. Amelie says:

    I’m sorry to read that. She sounds like a wonderful person.
    My mom was called Ursel by some. She lost her battle with cancer over a year ago.

  5. Kristin says:

    Like everyone else, I am so sorry. It’s an inadequate word, but I don’t know enough words to make a difference.

  6. Linda Lawrence says:

    Wish I was there to give you a hug!

    love you!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Becki says:

    I am so sorry. I am glad you had the opportunity to know such an exceptional woman; I’m sure she enriched many lives with hers. May her memory be eternal.

  8. chantillylace1979 says:

    I’m so sorry. She sounds like a great lady.


  9. Bon says:

    Ursel sounds not only like a fine, fabulous human being, but like she was good to you. for that, and for the spirit you’ve shared with us here, i honour her today.

    and i’m sorry…so sorry.

  10. debi says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute you wrote for her. It is an amazing thing to be such a vibrant and strong person that is so full of life and spreads that around to everyone she comes in contact with, that even though her body has left this place her essence and so much of who she really was cannot and will not disappear. Thank you for sharing her with us. My love and prayers to you, debi

  11. motherofbun says:

    What a great tribute. Am getting all teary-eyed. Sounds like she was a wonderful woman. Am so sorry for her loss. My heart is with you.

  12. Maggie, dammit says:

    I’m so sorry. So sorry.

    She was lucky to have someone to eulogize her so sweetly.

  13. Nancy says:

    I’m sorry for the loss, but I embrace how she celebrated life … even to the end. Your tribute to her speaks volumes.

  14. musingmommy says:

    I’m sorry to hear of her passing, but I’m glad to know of what she inspired in you.

    A beautiful tribute…

  15. canape says:

    Godspeed, Ursel.

  16. She sounds like a very special lady.
    As long as she is remembered by others, she will never be gone..

    Brightest Blessings to ALL.

  17. Jessica says:

    My heart and prayers are with you & her family.

    I am sure she somehow saw & loved this ode to her impact in the world.

  18. Leanne says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. {{hugs}}

  19. Donna W says:

    What a great tribute. Nobody else could say it like a person speaking from your perspective.

  20. Ursel does sound like an incredible woman. I’m so glad you had her in your life, and I have no doubt she’s left some of her spirit with you.

  21. Giovanna says:

    I actually knew and worked with Ursel for 10 years. She was always a lovely and cheerful person, no matter how much stress was in the workplace. She was one of those “true blue” people in which her personality never changed, always upbeat. She will be greatly missed.

  22. Stimey says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this.

  23. alyce says:

    I knew Ursel through mutual friends. I was saddened yesterday when I learned of her passing. But, your tribute, your words about her lifted me because you spoke of her valiance, her warmth, her grace. Thank-you for sharing. Godspeed to you! Alyce

  24. Jamilya Douglas says:

    She was a lovely women, matter of fact that was my aunt. But I talked to her last week and she was thanking everyone for being by her side. You can email me about theinformation on the funeral.

  25. Shay says:

    I met her during Radiation. She was such a sweet person and I was looking forward to playing softball with her this Summer. Her mother is a lovely and sweet woman.

  26. WORD#10 says:


  27. whymommy says:

    Ursel’s memorial was last night, and the Young Women with Cancer will be meeting for a grieving support session tomorrow night. It will be strange for her not to be there with us.

  28. Becky says:

    I also knew Ursel from working with her about 10-15 years ago. She was very well liked and adored. I only found out about her death today. I am so sad for her families loss, she was a wonderful person.

  29. Becky Swecker says:

    I wrote earlier from work but am not sure it went through so I’ll try again.

    I worked with Ursel when she worked at Autometric, Inc. She was always a happy person and laughed alot. I was so sorry to hear of her passing. I lost contact with her after she left the company. She will be missed by many.

  30. Ann Middleton says:

    I also worked with Ursel at Autometric. In fact, we were office mates for a little over a year and we played softball together. Like Becky, due to our jobs, Ursel and I lost contact, but sometimes our path would cross during business meetings and we sould try and play catch up before running off to meetings. Ursel got me hooked to watching Oprah. After work, either I would go to her place or we would rush home and call each other to discuss what happened on Oprah. We even played on the same softball team. I left the team when I found out that I was pregnant. I am so sadden to hear of her passing. I just found out yesterday and I am still having a hard time. Yes, I know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord , but this is hard for me right now. I am trying to come up with every Scripture I know to find comfort and the only comfort I am getting is in hearing her laughter and seeing her smile. Ursel, you will be missed, your beautifl spirit will live on. Your smile will forever be etched in my mind and my heart. If anyone has any information regarding the service, please email me at exarmy90@aol.com. Thank you. Ann

  31. Liletha says:

    Ursel was a truly a great woman. She attended the same gym as me. She was such a giver to so many people at the gym. She was such a positive person all the time despite what she was going thru.

  32. Liletha says:

    I was wondering if anyone wanted to do the Race for the Cure on behalf of Ursel since she ran it every year….

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