Cherish Life Before It Is Too Late – In Memory of a Friend

Cherish life. It is precious and you just never know when someone’s time on this earth will end. Last night, an online writing friend passed away after about a year-long battle with the monster known as cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and bone cancer just about a year ago, on February 2, 2015. It recently metastasized to other parts of her body and she was living with excruciating pain in spite of (or because of ?) multiple forms of treatment. She was a single mom and leaves two teen/early 20s daughters behind (not exactly sure of their ages).


Remembering Barb...
                                        Remembering Barb…


Barb had decided to chronicle her difficult journey, as a way to help herself process what was going on, and to help others who might also be going through the battle themselves or with loved ones. You can visit her blog here: Purple Death Hawk.


As a tribute to Barb and others who have passed on, I’d like to share this poem I wrote in memory of my own parents. I originally wrote it in September 2011, marking 9 years since my Dad had passed away, and only two months after my Mom passed away.

Tribute to My Parents:

Who Needs to Hear “I love you” Today?

“Nine years ago today, I lost my Dad,

the first most beloved man in my life.

Two months ago, in July, I lost my Mom –

now they’re reunited, loving husband and wife.


Last month, in August, I sat by their graves,

visiting their earthly resting place.

I know their spirits don’t reside there –

instead, they see each other and their Lord, face to face.


I can’t believe they’re both gone –

my siblings and I, emotional orphans –

but our parents are no longer in pain.

Cancer ravaged their bodies and took them,

God welcomed them home –

and some day, we will see them again.


Sometimes we grow complacent, hold grudges, or worse,

And neglect to tell loved ones how much we care…

We should take time to make amends,

say ‘I love you’ while we can,

before our loved ones are no longer there.


Thank God for His mercy and grace –

He granted time with both parents

Before they went peacefully on their way…

I would encourage you to ponder these words

and ask yourself,

Who needs to hear ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ today?”

Karen Lee Banks, September 2, 2011



Pillow I made for Barb last year.
               Pillow I made for Barb last year.


Do you have loved ones who may be near the end of their journey or who have recently passed on?


Do you need to make amends and tell someone “I love you” before it’s too late?



This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. This is heartbreaking. We’ve lost so many people to cancer. It’s a disease that I really hate. I’m glad she doesn’t feel any pain anymore and that she’s able to rest as much as she wants now. May her soul rest in peace. I offer my condolences to you and her family.

  2. So sorry. Thanks for sharing. I almost lost my dad last year due to a massive pulmonary embolism, and then again due to complications. Our relationship got a lot better when he got better, too. I think about what a blessing it is that we still have him here, every day. It made me appreciate everyone in my life more.

  3. I’m so sorry about your online friend, also the loss of your parents.I’m big on reminding my loved ones that I love them whenever possible and saying sorry when it’s needed.
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  4. Cancer sucks!! She sounds like a wonderful person. It is a great tip to smell the roses once in a while. Sorry for your loss

  5. I love your poem, Karen. I lost an old friend and colleague last year to a major cardiac arrest while he was in his bathtub undiscovered for 2 whole days and over the years, a lot of other people who I thought I would grow old with.

    Your online friend was brave and I know her daughters live on through her.

    When I lost my Dad 12 years ago, it shook the very foundations of my sense of my own mortality. Fortunately my relations with both parents has always been wonderful and I give thanks that in my last telephone call with Dad, I said ‘I love you’ which made him laugh because he said he always knew it and reciprocated it with his heart. It was spontaneous and I had a fear that it was the last time we would speak which it was because the next night I got a call from my Mom that he was gone and I was on the first flight home to support her in her grief.

    Saying I love you or apologizing doesn’t hurt, it only keeps us going when the other person is not around to hear it.
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  6. I miss my mom so much. She past 2 years ago but still I could still remember her ways in dealing with us. Im so thankful to my mom for being a great mother to us. I miss you mom and I love you so much.

  7. Thankfully i don’t have a friend or a family member that died recently. I can’t imagine if you doesn’t tell them how much they special.

  8. This is so sad though. Its better to say everything before anyone gets died

  9. Sorry about the loss of your friend. I am sure that’s hard.

  10. It is good to say it earlier before its too late. Love your post!

  11. Beautiful tribute! So sorry for your loss. I lost my mom very suddenly last year. Yesterday was the first anniversary of her death. She was old but it wasn’t expected.I miss her and my dad.

  12. cancer is such a disease that eventually leads to death. very sad to read this post.

  13. your poem is so lovely. it is so hard when we lose our loved ones but i know i will get to see so many of mine again someday which helps
    michelle recently posted..The Mission InnMy Profile

  14. Yes, K’Lee, several, including a friend of 53 years, my best friend in childhood, who died in September from lung cancer (possibly 9-11 related) that went into her bones and brain. It was caught before she became symptomatic (by a virtual colonoscopy, of all things) and she battled it for nearly four years I read several of Barbara’s posts and can only wish I knew of her sooner. You wrote a beautiful tribute and I and will be mentioning both her and you in my Weekly Blog Roundup on Saturday. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Alana recently posted..Time to Think of Gardening.My Profile

  15. This is a beautiful tribute. It’s sad, but at least she is not in pain anymore. May her soul rest in peace.

  16. A beautiful poem and reminder to say I love you to those we do and I’m sorry. In Judaism around Yom Kippur usually in Sept, we say I’m sorry for things I knowingly & unknowingly did to hurt you. It is always the unknowingly that moves my heart when I say it, because that is so true. We often don’t know. Beautiful tribute.

  17. My dad is currently battling stage 4 melanoma. When we found out it had spread to multiple locations, I began working on my conversations with him. Reaching out often and being intentional… it sucks that you take people for granted until something happens. But I’m thankful I have the relationship I have with him now.
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  18. Beautiful tribute to your friend and your parents, Karen. My father was only 51 when he died of a heart attack after walking up a flight of stairs. I was only 19 and I never had a chance to really say goodbye. He did know I love him though. My mother on the other hand is approaching her 100th birthday and has gone on to stay active and engaged in life. They were born same day, same year. It’s so fascinating to hear about people’s destinies and all we can really do is to be present and to express our love to people and to come clean with people before we no longer have the opportunity. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem and your friend with us!
    Beverley Golden recently posted..Hippie: Think Values Not LifestyleMy Profile

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss. Their seems to be so
    Many deaths this year so far. I don’t have anyone close to me who are close to the end nor have I really had anyone close to me pass on recently but with all the passing recently it has made me realize that life is short and to enjoy the time we have with family and friends.
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