My lessons learned from loss

I am no expert by any means and loss is personal to everyone but there are a few things that I have learned in the loss of my best friend that just might help you at some point in your life. I am writing this for my own therapy and I am sharing it to let you know you are not alone in your grief.

Unfortunately death is one of the guarantees in life and for some that comes well before it should.

To give you a little background, my best friend Allison passed away Feb. 5, 2020 after a year and half fight with cancer. She was 55 years old. She lived a full, happy, healthy life. Worked hard, played hard, raised two wonderful boys and was married for 27 years to Rob, another wonderful human.

Allison and I have been friends for 40 years. We survived high school and University having the time of our lives. Married two great guys only 2 weeks apart. Stood up for each other at our weddings, raised 2 children together, skiing every spring break, Disney and an amazing Western Canada summer adventure. We celebrated our milestone anniversaries and birthdays traveling and spent weekends together at each other’s cabins. She truly was my sister in so many ways. She was fun, giving, the organizer, adventurous, loyal, loving and matter of fact. I loved her dearly and now will miss her forever. However, she taught me a lot along her journey to the other side and I am grateful for her friendship and her lessons.

1. Friendship is forever
Even though Alley is gone, she will forever be in my heart. Her words of wisdom through out our friendship will always guide me in life. I truly believe she is still with me watching over and I find comfort in nature noticing things that feel like her spirit is present. Whether it truly is or not doesn’t matter because it is my comfort and our friendship and that’s all I need.

2. Live life fully right up until the end.
Alley always lived life to the fullest. She was a fighter, she never let go of hope and she never stopped living her life.
She was in the hospital the last week and a half of her life. I don’t have to spell out what cancer does to the body. Even though she was unable to get out of bed she welcomed friends and family to join her for a Jets Game and to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday. Nothing changed, she joined in the best she could and we all had fun as always.

3. Life goes on
The night I left the hospital after her passing, I was hysterical. The tears wouldn’t stop, I was sad and angry at the unfair fate that my friend had been dealt. However, everywhere I looked around me people were going about their everyday lives. What? Don’t they know? As hard as it was, I knew that life goes on and Allison would only be happy if we all moved forward too.

4. It’s not about me
There were many times through her illness that I would think what will I do without Alley. Who will I turn to when I need that listening ear? Who will plan our next trip? How will I laugh and have fun without my best friend. These are all legit feelings but truly it wasn’t about me, I dismissed them quickly and knew 100% of my energy needed to go to Allison and her family.

5. It’s OK to be sad and say so.
Everyday someone would ask me how I was doing. Usually the auto response is “good, how are you?” But I wasn’t good, I was very sad for a while before her passing and I still am and that’s OK. Who you choose to share your feelings with is up to you. You will know the right people to lean on. Make sure you do.

Thank you to those of you who have made this journey easier. Hugs

6. Everything will be OK
Even though I am sad and I know I have lost a big part of my life. I know life will move on and with the wonderful memories we will celebrate Alley’s life. We will continue to plan trips together. We will follow her children as they move through life. We will gather to celebrate her memory and continue to live life fully as we learned from Alley and know she is watching and guiding us along the way.

The greatest gift Alley gave me was not only her friendship but the amazing circle of friends that she included me in and I consider my family.

My lesson learned is to always live life to the fullest, make time for those that are close to you and be grateful everyday for the good times.

“Cancer didn’t get the best of Allison, her family and friends did!”

RIP my dear friend


  1. Sharna on February 24, 2020 at 8:12 am

    Hi Carol,
    I am so sorry to hear of your huge loss. My thoughts are with you. Thanks for sharing your many comforting thoughts and insights with us. Take care!

  2. Patty Simpson on February 24, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Well said, wonderful article. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

  3. Sandra Hamm on February 24, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Oh Carol..I’m so sorry to hear about your friend..such awesome thoughts on your friendship/closeness…hugs?Sandy

  4. Lisa Wicks on February 24, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Very well said Carol. This is truly an inspiration to others. Alley was a great human being and her spirit will live on in many. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Deri Latimer on February 24, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Lovely, Carol. Thinking of you.

  6. Karen Duha on February 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for sharing this story Carol. Sending you big hugs!

  7. Heather Shayna on February 24, 2020 at 11:26 am

    She was a neat lady and so are you. Keep living on for her. You wrote a special message ❤️

  8. Susan Southern on February 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your best friend.

  9. Lesley Nichol on February 24, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Well said Carol! I think of her often too with a variety of emotions and you are right, it is important to honour each one of them. Thanks for helping me reframe our loss, as I am feeling really sad today. This horrible, tragic loss we are all feeling will provide us with many lessons, but more than anything, she will live in our hearts everyday. Thinking of you… Sending more hugs……

  10. Joanne Single on February 24, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Carol, my thoughts are with you. Thank you
    For sharing your words. It is a wonderful way to celebrate your dear friend Ally. Sounds like you will cherish her til the end of time.
    Here’s a hug for you 🙂

  11. Melanie Vanderhorst on February 24, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Sorry for your loss Carol. It’s hard to loose a great friend at a very young age.
    Keep remembering the good times you had with Allison and her family.

  12. Audrey Rebizant on February 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    So sorry Carol. Very sad for you. Beautiful article and tribute to your buddy.

  13. Karen Sparrow on February 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Sending you big hugs Carol! I know this is a very difficult time. I lost my best friend to cancer a few years ago, and my Mom this past summer. You have a wonderful support network to help. Beautifully written article. Sending more hugs…

  14. Sue-Anne Hamilton on February 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Allison’s passing Carol. This is a really nice article! Loss is so hard and this article puts things in such a nice perspective! ?

  15. Christine Smith on February 26, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    A beautiful tribute, Carol. My heart and my thoughts are with you. Christine Smith ?

  16. Bonnie M. on February 29, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Carol, I’m happy to have this chance to comment. How absolutely blessed you have been to have had your dear friend Ally for forty years of your life. I’ll share a story I’ll never forget. When we had just moved to Winnipeg in 1965, we lived in a duplex on Cambridge Street. Above us lived a widow. One day I asked her what had happened to her husband. She said “He went in for a routine appendectomy and died on the operating table”. Quickly she added “Don’t feel sorry for me, I’ve always felt the ten years we had together were happier than most couples share in a lifetime”.
    I know the years you had with Ally far exceeded what so few or us ever share with relationships. I know you feel blessed.

  17. Patti on March 2, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Carol, what a beautiful tribute to Alley. Thank you for sharing the story of your friendship, your grief and your lessons.

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