Anabel and I were both pregnant during 1990-1991 school year. We taught together at Eagle Elementary in our small town in Texas. That year I taught music and she taught bilingual third grade. We shared the same last name, a friendship that I valued deeply and the birth of our daughters within a month of each other. Anabel’s family lived across the street from mine in teacher housing that was much too small for much time inside.  Our boys rode their bicycles up and down the block while we watched them and visited. Our daughters grew to be fast friends as they grew and were often mistaken for sisters. Anabel and I were in the same community service club together and I taught Andrea (Anabel’s daughter) in first grade eleven years ago. That was the year that we all were shocked to discover that Anabel had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. That  year she and her husband drove back and forth to chemo treatments in El Paso and returned each evening to make sure that the kids experienced a “normal”  routine. I was in awe and so amazed by the courage and strength of their family. Andrea spent lots of time with my Caity and I listened the two of them play dollies and talk about their big brothers.  The day of Anabel’s last treatment Andrea told me during our morning (daily news) time that her family was going to have a chemo going away party when her parents came home that night. Our entire school community celebrated Anabel’s recovery and she told me that she was okay with it all, she  said  she had made a deal with God and asked him to just let her make it for Andrea’s graduation from high school in 2009.

Last night, I looked at the memorial page for Anabel on the funeral home website. Cancer  returned to reclaim her life this March before her daughter graduates this very May. Like us, Anabel’s family moved to a different town in Texas after that very difficult year and our lives took different directions. As I looked at the pictures late last night I felt so angry that Andrea has to deal with losing her mommy at this time in her life….too soon. I have not been able to stop thinking about her all day. I am writing this slice to honor the memory of  my strong friend Anabel. I will write a letter to precious Andrea tomorrow. I am not sure what else I can do, I hope it will give her comfort. Writing this has helped me.

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