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 aspire
d 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.