In memorium: Charlotte Bevan
Life isn’t fair.
This is not news to anyone here. Some of the most amazing people I know have had to overcome tremendous obstacles. The motivational speakers in this world will say that those obstacles made them who they are. Perhaps so, but it would also really be nice if life didn’t suck so much for some people.
Most of the people reading this blog have been affected by an eating disorder in some way. That’s more than enough obstacles for one life–ten lives, even. But for one shining ray of light, eating disorders were only the start of the obstacles. Not long after she had helped her daughter to recovery from anorexia, Charlotte Bevan was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had chemo and radiation and things looked good.
Then the cancer came back.
FUCK YOU CANCER.
Since Charlotte announced her cancer was terminal this past summer, I have been grieving. You try to prepare yourself for the loss. You try to ignore the possibility that someone so vibrant and full of life could leave this world so soon.
At first, I managed to convince myself that Charlotte had a lot more time. She was still on Facebook and the Around the Dinner Table Forum, telling parents to breathe and put their Big Girl’s Pants on. She was brutally honest but always kind. And funny as hell. I had to remind myself that she was sick, even as I saw pictures of her chemo-ravaged body and hair that had been reduced to small wisps of gray.
The cancer continued to spread. Cancer is like that.
Charlotte continued to love, support, and encourage. Charlotte is like that.
Before she died, she made one last gift to all of us in the form of Charlotte’s Helix. She wanted the world to benefit from research on eating disorders, and she wanted scientists to uncover genetic contributors to these illnesses. With her friend Laura Collins, she began raising money to help sequence the genomes of 25,000 individuals around the world who had anorexia. And, because Charlotte is Charlotte, she is succeeding admirably. Researchers say they are on track to collect all of these samples.
They made this announcement on Monday, not long before Charlotte’s suffering was finally over.
I don’t know if she knew, although I’d like to think she did.
After she died, there has been an outpouring of love, support, and grief online. Everyone had a Charlotte story, everyone shared how much they loved her and how much she loved back. Most of us had never met her in person, but that didn’t matter. We Skyped, we emailed, we texted, we phoned. Her spirit was everywhere.
It still is.
I never got to meet Charlotte in person, and that’s something I will regret forever. But I like to think that she is with us still, in all the lives she has saved, virtual cups of tea she has poured, and Big Girl’s Pants she has donated. Her gift to research will be felt for generations. I’d rather she was still here, science be damned. It’s not fair. Not fair at all.
I will miss you forever, Charlotte. You were one of my biggest cheerleaders, the first to review my book on Amazon, and one of my online bonus mums. In the end, all I can say is that I love you so much. You did it your way, and I am honored to have known you.