Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Life Well-lived.

The inevitable has happened.  Seven years after her initial diagnosis, Lesley Osmond has succumbed to breast cancer. 

On Saturday, four days before her 47th birthday, Lesley died at home, surrounded by her family.  The injustice of a daughter pre-deceasing her parents, of children left motherless, of a man loosing his best friend and life-mate, of a talent and unique power to move things forward being wiped out, is staggering.  The pain of dwelling on the horrible loss is just too great and so we focus on the joys she gave us, the good times, the happy memories and the strong foundation she left for those who will follow her.

Almost as if she knew from the very beginning of her life journey that time would be measured, Lesley lived large.  She packed it all in.  Her life was lived fully, with no regrets.  Strong in body and mind, Lesley was the backbone of everything she was involved in.  She has left an enormous gaping hole that once was filled to overflowing.

Involved in sports from elementary school onward, Lesley played hard to win and coached teams of others to do the same both in England and in Canada.  Less than one year ago, she was the first female to cross the finish line of the 50 Km. fund-raising bike ride to raise funds for the new cancer center being built in our community.  She became the face of the campaign, posted in newspapers, magazines, in bus stop kiosks and in homes throughout our community.

Trained in England, and later working in Canada as a physiotherapist, Lesley brought her compassion and no-nonsense approach as needed to those she ministered to.  Stories are legion of her healing care for others, of her going the extra mile to make sure she left no stone unturned looking for just the right therapy, tool, or special something that would facilitate healing.  Her young special needs clients loved her, and so did their beleaguered parents.

Lesley was a founding member of her Book Club, the Squash Team, the Gourmet Club, and the Gang of workmates, many of whom also came from England.  She was the vanguard.

Varied people from around the world call Lesley Friend.  Having traveled widely, and being a social magnet, she made friends everywhere.  She was a true and loyal friend to so many.  Jill will be attending the funeral all the way from Ottawa, where she now works.  She and Lesley have been friends since they were 4 years old back in Nottingham, England.  Throughout her illness, Lesley selflessly focused on the needs of others around her, never bemoaning her plight.  Always brassy and bold, she maintained an avid interest in whatever was going on, and over time softened and sweetened more and more, eagerly seeking ways to encourage and affirm her friends.

Lesley's most cherished role in life was that of Wife and Mother.  She sheltered her family from the horrors she faced as her disease progressed.  Even when it was difficult for her to do so, she worked hard to build memories for the family.  She wanted her boys to know (not too soon, but not too late) that she was going to die.  She hoped that they would be able to process and face the facts and still be able to talk with her.  She got her wish.

During her final hours, her sons were constantly by her side, cradling her head, stroking her arms, and kissing her face.  The youngest pushed her hospital bed to abut the house bed and then laid beside her until the very end.  Those were precious moments and the seeds of healing for all of us, even before the final goodbye.  

 The next time you are offered a daffodil in April, or a chance to walk/run/bike to support Cancer Research, think of Lesley and the millions like her that are waiting for a cure.  One day, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and it will be because of the tireless efforts to make it so by many dedicated thousands, sharing and building to make the dream a reality.

Thank you, my blogging family, for sharing this milestone with me.  It is amazingly therapeutic to have a sounding board that will listen with an open heart. 


Menopausal New Mom said...

How tragic. Your post brought tears to my eyes, I can only imagine the difficult time her family and loved ones have endured and will continue to adjust to.

I'm so so sorry. She was a beautiful woman. Your tribute was amazing.

Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

We are weeping here knowing that she is gone. RIP Lesley- good fight.

We love you!

Veronica Lee said...

I'm so sorry, Rosemary. Your tribute was beautiful.

((hugs)) to you and prayers for Lesley's family.

Unknown said...

Thank you Mum.............................................................

Anonymous said...

That was wonderful Rosemary. Lesley touched so many people. I cannot believe what a strong woman she was. She sat on our back deck two weeks before she died and she was still smiling. Love her to pieces and will miss her lots. Her family is left behind but will never be left out of our hearts.

Vartan and Sarah Semerjian

Jules AF said...

I'm so sorry. Cancer sucks.

Rebecca said...

Lots and LOTS of prayers for her friends and family.

Have you read the book "The Middle Place". It's about Kelly Corrigan's ordeal with breast cancer and her father's diagnosis of cancer at the same time. It's a good book with a better ending than Leslie's but.....it might help to read it.

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear the bad news.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this, Rosemary. I remember Leslie as the lovely bride in her horsedrwan carriage (the only day that I met her as I was visiting dear friends that week). Your 'life well-lived' is a beautiful tribute. May Leslie's loved ones be comforted. Christine Gilgunn

Pat Tillett said...

That was fantastic and well written tribute to your friend. I'm so sorry...


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Cancer is a tough one, we donate every year.

Peggy said...

I am now following you through
Follow Friday 40+!!
Peggy Gorman

rite said...

New follower from one of the friday blog hops!!! Hope you have a wonderful friday!


PS i also host a weekly blog hop... feel free to check it out!

Dogmom Diva said...

Hi Rosemary, first I am so sorry at the loss of the beautiful Lesley..I can just see the love and friendship in her face..Taken too young..God needed her more, but that doesn't help those lef behind does it.

Thank you for stopping by..What is Quack Grass?? hmm..

I am a new follower and will get to know your blog better in the future!


Carries Rambles said...

I am so sorry. Cancer is awful. That was a beautiful tribute to her life.