Friday, July 15, 2011

The lady in the teardrop dress

Ever remember something from a dream, or series of dreams, that you had as a little kid?  Last week, as I was driving home from visiting my friend Linda in hospice (see my last post), a memory pushed its way into my consciousness for the first time in many decades. 

I don't really remember my dreams.  If I had to list every dream that I can remember, there may be two or three, total.  And with all the chemotherapy I've had in the last two years, "chemo brain" has really taken its toll.  (See my Jan. 19, 2010 post on this subject.)  But that day, thinking about Linda, I remembered my dreams about the lady in the teardrop dress.  I must have been about five or six when I had them.  All I remember is that she was really nice and pretty, she wore a teardrop shaped dress (whatever that is), which I think was gold, and I was excited whenever she came to me.  I can't remember what she said, what we did or anything else about the dreams. I just knew that they were special.

When Linda relapsed, I went into a bit of a spin.  Linda's recovery was going great, better than mine.  There was nothing that anyone could have done to prevent her from relapsing, and I knew that it could have been me just as easily as her.  It was very sobering and difficult to process.  But I think that the lady in the teardrop dress came back to me, as a memory this time, to bring me a message of comfort:  I'm going to be ok; she is with me and will stay with me.  Maybe she's an angel.  Maybe I made her up in my dreams as a gift to myself when I was little.  It doesn't matter where she came from.  She helped me focus on the loving aspects of Linda's tragic ordeal.  And there were many.

Linda died earlier this week, on July 11th, in her mid 50s.  Today was the funeral and burial.  As I left the cemetery, her husband, Joe, said, "Kath, you have to beat this thing -- especially now that she's gone."  What Joe didn't know was that, in a private moment with Linda at the hospice center, I made her a promise:  to do all the things that we were planning to do, now for both of us.  We vowed that when we recovered, we would get involved with fundraisers, help with donor drives, educate people about leukemia, help other patients, speak out as much as possible.... I will keep my promise to my friend.

I am indescribably grateful to the Federico family, Joe, Marc, Jon, Michael, Pete and Yolanda, not only for the love and tenderness they had for Linda, but for the love and support they have given me.  They, along with the lady in the teardrop dress, made these last three weeks truly amazing.



  1. God bless.


    My email address is

  2. Hi Kathy--Today, I found your blog. I can't believe I JUST found it today. I too am an ACCB survivor and started a blog when I was diagnosed back in 2007. (I had a mastectomy of my right breast after not getting clean margins from the lumpectomy. My tumor ended up being 6.1 cms.--which is crazy big) My images since diagnosis have all been clear but I still worry, as I am sure we all do. Anyway, I haven't read all your posts yet, but plan to do so soon. I correspond with a few other ACC sisters and am shocked I didn't find your blog sooner. With as rare as this is, writing about it is about the only way to spread the word so I thank you. Your courage in all that you have faced since is AMAZING!!!

  3. Hey Molly,

    I've been following your posts on the Rare Cancer Alliance Forums,, for years! Thanks so much for reaching out. Let's stay in touch.



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