It was deep in the night. We were still awake after a fun filled night. My housemate was asleep, our mutual friend stayed awake and we chatted over a cuppa of tea.
It was then that she told me about her brush with death – her life before cancer and her life after the first tumor.
She cried as I looked on helplessly, not entirely sure how to comfort her but still rejoicing in the fact she was now safe and sound and the tumors and chemotherapy a thing of the past. After all, she was only a young one at twenty-odd years old. The talk of death and cancer was uncomfortable. Nobody likes to be reminded of how fragile life is.
Life went on, and we slowly lost contact as she moved on in her life and what I always hoped to be away from cancer.
I found out the hard way that she hadn’t moved away from cancer after all. I picked up a copy of MX and her face stared at me from the rustling paper.
Image source: Daily Telegraph
Her name was Clare Oliver and perhaps some of you folks from Melbourne, perhaps even in other parts of Australia might remember her as the girl who fought against solariums in her final days and lost to the battle of cancer herself a few weeks later.
Do you know how hard it is to read the paper, realise your friend is dying and feel helpless? To this day, I kick myself for having found out that way – from the newspaper. How outrageous does that sound? Why didn’t I stay in touch, why didn’t I stay close to her, and why wasn’t I there in her final days?
I did attend her funeral, but nothing can really lighten the feeling of guilt that I wasn’t there with her, for her.
So Clare, this is for you. It is not much, but you did like chocolate.
Bananas along with chocolate sauce, drawn up in my best chocolate drawing skills, which unfortunately isn’t much at all. The chocolate was made from David Lebovitz‘s recipe which he calls the amazing sauce and it tasted just that. Amazing.
Perhaps what made this dish even better was the fact that the sun was out and it felt amazing to be in the warm again. But kids, please do remember what Clare Oliver stands for. Sunscreen, and no excessive sunbathing. This is very important, so I implore you to stay inside and always, always, always use that sunscreen.
Sometimes I look back through my photos and I shed a tear or two as I remember the nights we went out clubbing, of memories of her trying to put on her makeup in the tram, stabbing herself in the eye with her false lashes and us getting wasted and drunk in the night clubs.
I have videos of drunk!Clare who was insistent that my plushie bee was moving and out to terrorize her, and of her saying that white bread was salty. Drunk!Clare was very funny Clare. Those videos are well-treasured and my only proof that she was once alive and treading upon the soil of this earth like you and me.
It is hard to lose a friend, a family member and really it is hard to lose anything. So, Thank You to organizations like Livestrong and thank you to others who have been fighting alongside. I look forward to the day when a complete cure for cancer exist and I hope it is soon.
For more information on Livestrong with a Taste of Yellow, please visit Barbara’s blog. There are many more touching stories and many other hearts to visit, so I do hope you click along and take a minute to share along with many others.
The Best Chocolate Sauce
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or glucose
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup (or agave or glucose), and cocoa powder.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it’s just begun to simmer and boil, remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.
Serving: You should let the Chocolate Sauce stand for a few hours before serving, which will give it time to thicken a bit.
Storage: Store the chocolate sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rewarm before serving.
And for Clare, Rest In Peace dearest. At least my plushie bee won’t be able to terrorize you anymore.