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Two women. Two Rocks.

When breast cancer struck again at 49, I was obsessed with an unrequited urge to connect with my past. So reconnecting with Lisa, who lived across the street where we grew up, was just what my battered soul needed. Five years my senior, she had been my babysitter. Our parents were, and are, dear and true friends. She had breast cancer too; diagnosed only 13 months ago.

But here the similarities ended. As everything had gone remarkably well for me the first time around, it had gone remarkably so wrong for her. Lisa was dying. I, and my doctors, had a curative scenario in our sights.

I received her email updates, and after just two, the tête-à-tête with mortality opened a cascade of emotions that both blindsided me and opened my heart. We connected in cyberspace, culminating in a video call to celebrate our day-apart birthdays – her 55th and my 50th.

We were both scheduled to begin chemotherapy the following week. As we prepared to say goodbye, she asked me to take the smoothest rock I could find and hold it in my hand during chemotherapy – and imagine her hand in mine. I looked, but there was not a smooth rock to be found in the rugged, mountainous terrain of my present home. So I stole one from my neighbor’s rock garden and put it in my “cancer bag.” Every time I reached in for something in my bag that day, and every day since, I hold that rock in my hand for a second. And have Lisa’s hand in mine.

I sent a rock to Lisa from the rocky terrain of my home. So she could hold it and imagine my hand in hers, know I am thinking of her and somehow understand how much our reconnection means to me.

She died a few short weeks later. Her rock from me was placed in her grave by her son. My rock from her is still in my bag. We remain holding hands. My hand holding hers from this life and in the pursuit of a long life. Hers holding mine from what I hope is a world of peace and tranquility after so much suffering. Our hands, our rocks, transcend the heavens, the years and continents that divided us and brought us together in life and in death.


Your story has moved me to near tears and I feel the love, connection and loss coming from your words. It's a beautiful story and tribute to your friend, whose hand will forever be embraced in yours through such a powerful symbol - both physical and metaphorical.

Thank you for sharing this very personal story. We are so privileged to have your voice in our community.

Warm regards,

Nusrat Ara's picture

Such a touching story. Your

Such a touching story. Your story warmed my heart as I could feel the love, compassion and camaraderie.You were lucky to have each other. Thanks for sharing your story.



BushraS's picture

Your story of love, hope and

Your story of love, hope and preserverance has left me choking back my tears. I salute your and Lisa's bravery in this battle. It is rare that one finds support and strength in childhood relationships and you and Lisa were lucky to find that in each other.
I wish you full recovery and long, healthy and peaceful life. May Lisa rest in peace.

Love, B

brianna.warren's picture

I am sure Lisa will never

I am sure Lisa will never forget your compassion and support, just as you will never forget hers. I, too, hope that Lisa is in a place of tranquility and peace now that her suffering has ceased. Thank you for reminding us that we can be supportive of one another even over great distances. We can still hold each other close - hold each other's hands.

mrbeckbeck's picture

Powerful story...

Thank you for sharing this very moving, personal story. Your writing is powerful, and drew me very close to you and Lisa, and your experiences of reconnecting, and tragic loss. It is such a great reminder to me that distance is only part of the equation...

Thank you again. Wishing you all the best for health and wellness.

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Deepti's picture


Dear Agerber,

You deserve the title. This is a powerful story, and it holds the theme of 'holding hands' very well. :)

Keep it up!

agerber's picture


Thank you very much! --Audrey

adamrthalhimer's picture

Thank You!

Dear Agerber,

I am Lisa's son. Congratulations on winning the writing contest and thank you for contributing the proceeds to my Mom's chartitable fund!

I was very touched by your story. I did in fact throw your rock into my Mom's grave. I knew that the rock was from Israel and that your parents had brought it back, but I did not know the full story.

I have printed out your writeup to include in my memories from Mom and I look forward to my children reading it someday.

I am glad that you are doing well in your cancer fight... I love running into your parents around town, they are the best!

Adam T.

vivian's picture


In your situation, u still cared for someone else. That is what Life shall be. Caring for one another. Congratulations for the being among the winners.


''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

agerber's picture


Thank you for your kind words.

Karen Rozier's picture

Very Moving Story

I cried. Congratulations on being among the winners.

Amei's picture

This is a heart warming story ...

I felt my emotions .... thank you for sharing ...


lindalilian's picture

Nice..really Nice

It carried alot of warmth in it...


rebecca.olul's picture

Dear Agerber, A couple of

Dear Agerber,

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend of mine passed away from cancer. I never got to say goodbye but trust that in her heart of hearts she knew that I was there with her. I am sure that she carries that rock in her heart when she passed on. Your story just opened the floodgates for me. Caring, loving, the strength...Thank you for sharing your story.


agerber's picture

Thank you

Thank you so much for your kind words. Writing the story was very meaningful to me and your responses mean a great deal to me.

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Well done

This is a wonderful story, brought tears to my eyes.... I know Lisa's proud of you....

@chiomachuka on Twitter

agerber's picture

Thank you

Thank you for your kind words.

Kingwa Kamencu's picture

This is beautiful

Thank you for being so open and sharing Agerber. For me this takes the ceiling off the distinction between life and death in a beautiful way... because deep down a lot of us are afraid of death..... yet like the rocks... our souls probably still retain their form... and settle somewhere... at the end of all this... and all is good.

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