Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sasha Blackford

Me and the ACS Ladies take Sash out for a free Christmas Spa Day 2004
(Sasha is second from the right; I'm in the red scarf)

This morning I received the news that one of my friends and ex-coworkers, Sasha Blackford, age 30, passed away. She has been fighting Hodgkin's Lymphoma for several years.

When I met Sasha, she had just been rediagnosed after a two-year hiatus/remission from the disease. I didn't meet her immediately, but her reputation preceded her in a big way.

"Just wait til you meet Sasha," people said. "She's great."

This went on for about three days - it was Daffodil's week and everyone in the office was running willy-nilly around town - until one afternoon, a spunky, mischevious woman stood in my doorway, wearing a bright pink baseball cap. I think (it's been a long time now) that she had just come from chemo, so all her hair was missing (hence the baseball cap). Sash was known around the office for her hats and various wig styles (as well as dying her hair pink when it was long enough!).

The hype was well placed. Meeting Sasha was everything people told me it would be - she was witty, funny, sarcastic. She was also very open about her disease. She told us once - through her well-kept up website - about her various run ins with the public as a bald woman.

In one story, she was out shopping. A little boy stared at her, then poked his mom.
"Mom! I know how that one is a girl! She's got a handbag!"

Another story (I may be wrong, but I thought it also involved a little boy - mischevious buggers), who asked his mom quite loudly in a department store line "Mom! What happened to her hair?" To which Sasha leaned over, putting her face right next to the little boys and said, "I asked too many questions."

Thinking about it now makes me laugh, and sniffle just a little bit.

I have told everyone I know and now I'm going to tell everyone I don't:

Sasha brought so much joy and sparkle to life, she was amazing to behold. No, that makes her sound...ethereal. She was HYSTERICAL. She made me laugh until I almost needed those little "urinary helper" pads they sell nowadays. Her motto was "Life gives me lemons, I add ice, vodka and a sippy straw."

She was the first young person I know to die.

Today I am saddened, terrified, humbled and honored to have known this woman. Please visit her website and give generous to organizations that aid cancer patients and their families, such as the Luekemia/Lymphoma society.

Bless you all.

Go hug someone you love.

M.

3 comments:

nate-nate-bo-bate said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Losing friends is never easy. I've lost a few in my time and while none of them seem as invigorating as yours, any loss is hard to bear.

She truly sounds like a special person and I envy you for having known such a shining light of humanity, even if it was for a short time. People like that, I've found, live on once they've passed through the lives that they've touched. If I were you, I'd feel like I was incredibly gifted to be able to keep her light alive through memories.

I hope that is some small consolation in your time of loss.

Megan said...

Meredith, we're sad with you. A lot of people, I suspect, are mourning this loss. But like I said: I don't think it's a defeat, like Sasha wasn't strong enough somehow and lost the battle. Sasha sounded plenty strong to me. Her life, her testimony, her example will live on in you, in her family, in her story, in her witness.

Of course, my faith also tells me that she has now left behind her suffering and has joined the saints in glory. Not even death can hold Sasha, which I happen to think is very great comfort indeed. Thanks be to God!

kd said...

I'm so sorry. I know you were really struggling with word that Sasha wasn't doing so well. She sounded like a wonderful person with such an honest, tell it like it is personality. She also made such a lasting impression on everyone she came in contact with, now that's special. I'm not too great with words, but I want you to know that I love you and I'm here for you and I'm thinking about you.