I'd known Steph from group meetings every fall for the annual picnic. We'd all get together with the rescue Danes or, the not-so-rescued Danes (purchased from show homes). That's where the last picture of Storm was taken (his story is on the left hand side panel).
Steph and I bonded over looking for the girl. Hours in mosquito infested streams, back lots of soccer/baseball fields (hey! no snakes!!!), bike trails and back yards of homeowners who'd called to say they'd seen her.
Eventually, the poor old great dane girl was found alive. Fed, medicated, and loved up she got her forever home.
Time passed, I moved away.
Two years ago or so, Steph wrote about her car accident on the way to FL. Great danes in tow, then into the ambulance, then to FL... she got home to a message saying to call her doc to discuss the X-rays from the accident.
This past February, I took Steph to the Wild vs. Bolts game. It was not a trip I could well afford but in asking her if her husband would want to go if I could not make it up there, her response said everything:
"It was more about spending time with you, than the game."
I went to St. Paul and watched the Bolts lose in overtime to the Wild. That was okay.
Steph cheered, clapped, and smiled for 3+ hours - mostly for her team, but some of it at me (I'm a little loud when cheering for the Bolts and Boyle - but I won't digress here on that player!)
Wherever the conversation went, I followed. She led, I responded. She talked about her treatment plans, and options; she told me her bucket list (one of the things was seeing a Wild game - thankfully, I got seats in lower level behind the Bolts' bench).
She talked about wanting to get to Hawaii, and onto a cruise. She talked about watching her grandkids then yet to be born grow up and become toddlers.
The only time her voice caught - reality setting in - was when she talked about the 8 months it took for her hair to grow out after chemo and that the idiot who cut it off didn't realize it might never... and then her voice cracked.
Advanced Stage IV ovarian cancer diagnosed two years ago.
The Wild won, she drove me back to the hotel and we talked some more. Treatment options if the current regiment wasn't working. Last chemo in Feb, PET scan to follow 3 weeks later.
My heart is heavy. Tonight, I leave this for Steph.