I became friendly with Barbara when she was going through a hellacious time dealing with breast cancer. Diagnosis, chemo, radiation, eradication, survivor – the whole nine yards.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that we became good friends – sharing laughs, lots of laughs and fears about breast cancer (I had it too, but it wasn’t as scary as Barbara’s).
I will never, ever forget our two recent experiences out on the Chesapeake Bay with the Coast Guard. First, there was the almost seasick Barbara, who literally turned shades of green I didn’t know existed. Then there was the professional Barbara doing live interviews at sea (or Bay). And finally, there was the hysterically funny Barbara – I won’t share that story. Just take my word for it – she understood people.
Yesterday, I spoke to Barbara, which ended with both of us, of course, laughing. It turns out it was the last time I’d ever speak to her. I’m glad we were laughing. I’m also glad the last text I got from her reads, “Lol.”
That was Barbara. A journalist, friend, mother, survivor, believer in her faith and a person that gives back. Happy – so very happy and strong beyond belief.
For those that don’t know, Barbara was working on establishing a local chapter of the Sisters Network. This because black women with breast cancer face a far greater mortality risk than most others. Barbara beat breast cancer as far as I know and she wanted others to also. Last night, she emceed an event for cancer patients and their families. And then just like that, she was gone.
We know not yet how Barbara died. In the end, it’s how she lived that matters.
I’ll miss you Barbara, as will many.
Update (11/15/2014) – http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-barbara-cox-1115-20141114,0,750537.story