In memoriam: Lisa Bonchek Adams

The world is so much emptier without Lisa Bonchek Adams in it. She died of breast cancer this past Friday March 6th and I am just one of thousands who feel the loss deeply.

All the criticisms I’ve hurled at facebook are balanced out 1000 times by the presence of Lisa. A force. She was my virtual cancer friend, like she was to so many others for whom she found precious time and with whom she shared a real connection. When I started out on my trip she was already long into hers. At the beginning it was hard to read her words because I brought all my own fears to them. But they were a gift I forced myself to take – full of toughness, resilience, beauty, love, frustration, anger, and generosity, generosity, generosity.

We had a few FB conversations. I told her I didn’t know her well and wondered if I should wait a while before using the word fuck in our exchanges. "There is no better word than Fuck, for cancer", she replied. I’m glad I didn’t wait.

I know too well now that cancer respects no boundaries, pulls no punches, shows no respect. It attacks willy nilly and laughs when we tell it to fuck off. But we will ultimately win. Lisa’s body was a war zone in a fight between medical science and cancer, where, I have to believe, every battle lost and won taught us things that will ultimately crush this disease. We will have the last laugh, but sadly it will be long after too many of us have died.

Lisa became a part of my life. I had this very reasonable (I think) belief that her voice was too strong, too important, too caring, too bold not to be. As hard as it all was for her, and she bore it with grace and grit, I thought she’d always be here to tell us how cancer was pushing her around and how she, with the help of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, was punching back. Lisa was a painfully reliable witness to her own experience. I felt honoured to be invited into any part of that.

I could fill many pages with things Lisa said that everyone should read but you can all go to her blog for yourselves. I will leave you with her words.

"If you can start the day and look at all of the things you want or need to do and make those choices based solely on what you feel like doing rather than what you physically can do... That is what I long to have again. That is freedom."


Dear Lisa. Rest my friend and thank you for everything.

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