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Cancer stole a friend yesterday. She was a bright light; a testament to resilience and strength; a writer; a ballerina; a lawyer; an optimist; a traveler; a champion. But most of all, she was a mom. She LOVED being a mom.

I was four months pregnant when we met at a writing conference in California, and I was clueless about how my life was about to shake and shatter and need to be pieced back together. Mimi opened her heart and poured the precise encouragement I needed into mine. She gave me precious advice. Something that I think about over and over.

No matter what happens, you are still you.
Above all, you are you.  In the darkest, crying night. In the longest, restless day.
And you are the person your kids watch and depend upon.
When they are scared or confused, when they need to explore and celebrate.
You are the person they need.
Even when you don't feel like what you have and are is enough.
It is.
You are.

I don't believe in coincidences. We met then because she was who I needed to meet then. Perhaps I was who she needed, too. She went now because now was her time to go, but it feels tragic. Like I didn't clap hard enough.

Here's the brilliant thing: Her words and positive energy remain in the lives of everyone who still stands in the world. That's immortality. And so, dear friends, I implore you to speak now, hug now, get together now, take pictures now, ask questions now, tell stories now, listen to one another now.

Love now.

Offered in memory of Mimi Chiang

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The Girl Behind The Red Door

Audrey Camp

Audrey Camp is an American expat and freelance writer living in Oslo, Norway with her husband. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2012. Her essays have appeared in Forge and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.

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