Privilege Blog

#RememberingLisa, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:52am

I’m going to take a moment in memoriam, if you don’t mind. Lisa Boncheck Adams died yesterday, at the age of 45. She leaves behind a husband and 3 young children. I wrote briefly about her last year, here. Back when I first met Lisa online, 5 or 6 years ago, she was always open about her experience with breast cancer, and clear that her “survivor” status was conditional. In October 2012 her disease recurred, metastasized.

She spoke plainly and openly about her treatment, dismissing both false hope and shock-mongering. She used her large Twitter following, in part, to remind everyone to get their medical tests, regularly. Not to delay.

Of course delay is what I wish she had had, of another sort. Lisa knew she was going to die early. But she had hoped to see another spring. Not to be. I’m going to spend today cleaning my house and tending to my garden. I’d be lying if I said I made my plans in Lisa’s honor, it’s just what I need to do. Plain speaking. Its companion, a moment of silence.

Resquiat in pace, Lisa, you served us so well.

30 Responses

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. Lisa was a friend and neighbor to me. She was a beautiful, compassionate, honest, funny, smart and kind woman. She fought so hard for so long. She will be missed.

    1. @Erika, Oh, if you knew her in person I can imagine how much stronger all your feelings must be about her loss. xox.

  2. So sad to hear that this courageous soul has left us. As a breast cancer survivor, I feel a kinship with others who have survived this ordeal and empathize with those who battle this disease. Will they find a cure in my lifetime? I certainly hope so.

  3. Although billions have been spent on breast cancer research, if your cancer returns your life will be cut short. Despite what health wonks may claim – early detection saves lives.

    RIP Lisa, you are not alone.

  4. What a brave woman Lisa was to write about her illness while living through its demands. I was not aware of her until reading this post today. I have now read portions of her blog as well as your post about her from a few years ago. Sobering reading indeed. May Lisa rest in peace knowing that she helped so many recognize the importance of early screening.

  5. I was so sad to read this news this morning. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Lisa in person, but I’ve read her blog for several years. As a family member of someone with stage 4 breast cancer, her writing made me feel less fear, even though the truth was often difficult. Isn’t that one of the best reasons for communication? We could use more teachers like Lisa. I hope her last few days were comfortable and meaningful. What a terrible tragedy that she didn’t have more time with her children. I have held her family in my thoughts all day. I wish them peace.

    1. @Christy, “her writing made me feel less fear, even though the truth was often difficult. Isn’t that one of the best reasons for communication?” Yes.

  6. So sorry to hear this.
    Her plain speaking post is different, but reminds me of the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye:

    A Thousand Winds

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

  7. I deep cleaned my house yesterday, as a way of coping with the news of Lisa’s death. Mindless, mind numbing tasks spent thinking of the many things she taught me through her writing and moreso, how she loved her family.

  8. You introduced me to Lisa online in Jan 2014. My father had just passed and reading Lisa talk about cancer so forcefully and beautifully was somehow comforting. She also taught me much about loss, grief and illness. I will be forever grateful.

    Again – thank you for the introduction. What a loss. My heart and head both hurt.

    1. @Alesya, I am so happy to have introduced you to her – and happy she helped in the time you lost your father. It is a loss.

  9. I am so sorry to hear of Lisa’s passing. She was very courageous. My prayers for peace and comfort for her beautiful family.

  10. So sad to read this. But heartened by the though that our blogs can change lives, one word at a time.

    Your are a good friend to us all Lisa.

    xo J

  11. I hadn’t heard of her until this blog post and have gone back and read from your link, her blog, etc. So brave of her. I hope the legacy she’s left behind comfort her grieving family.

  12. I am only an infrequent reader but love your blog. This is heartbreaking news. It hits home for me–my twin sister’s breast cancer has also recurred from 8 years ago, and although she is doing well now, we know it won’t last forever. Early detection is critical–my sister had yearly mammograms but was not advised about the need for more. We learned after her diagnosis that she has the BRCA1 gene mutation, as does my mother (and, of course, me). We have learned from this experience that you have to be informed yourself and not blithely trust medical personnel to be up on the latest research, tests, and recommendations.

    1. @Cindy, I am glad to hear from you but so very sorry for your sister’s recurrence. I hope that new treatments and knowledge advance ever more rapidly, and all strength to you and your family.

  13. My mammogram reminder card has been sitting on my desk for weeks. No longer, just made the appointment.

    Prayers for her family and friends. 45 are not enough years.

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