No Words…

red ink…

inkwell chicksThanks everyone for your messages.   I so appreciate all of you and the  “family” we’ve become because of Pink Ink.   Our collective thoughts and prayers should be focused on the B’s as they take the next steps on their journey.

This is an email that I sent to Pink Ink a couple of weeks ago.  I’m not sure whether she ever read it.  We didn’t talk about it when we saw each other or when we talked last week.   It just expresses what I need to…

Hey Girl,
There are no words that can adequately express what’s in my heart but I need to try…

B called me on Friday to say what I thought I’d been preparing myself for, and it literally took the wind out of me. As he talked, I reminded myself to breathe. Just the other day I was telling Yas that I was thankful for the time that we’ve had together and that I felt like I was not in the same kind of pain that I had been in before because we really have had a chance to work through some stages together. You know better than almost anyone else how I like to (sharing this characteristic with you, all day!) be in control and make sense of things. Still, the floor came out from under me as Brendon spoke. I tried hard to concentrate on every word…I heard…”cancer spread to brain…we are moving to hospice, hopefully at home…time is short…come now if I want to, but the B’s need the weekend together to just, well, be together in the face of this.” Turns out…I’m not really ready to say goodbye.

A couple of things that I need you to know…first, I love you and will miss you like you can’t even imagine (tears streaming down my face 😭on the plane so much so that the little boy near me is asking his mommy what’s wrong with me…lol) You’re my sister as much as my blood sister. You know I hold it close so there aren’t a million of you… As I continue to love you and all that we’ve shared, I promise to share that love with your lil B for as long as I’m on this side.

Second, I need you to know that I’m grateful for the unexpected sister that you’ve been. Celebrating our sameness and our differences made me better – “because I knew you.” (Can’t you just hear Elphaba and Galinda singing now…)

We have experienced joy (watching our “babies,” especially our girls, play together at the Inkwell and become the family we so wanted them to be), laughed out loud so much, even in the midst of this (I’ll never forget the little boy on the elevator story), figured things out together (from speeches to how to put someone in check), told one another that we “could do it” when feeling a little shaky, and shared so many stories about our husbands, our children and our families and reminded each other of the joy and blessing of it all when we needed to. While we have each cried immeasurable tears about some of the things we shared, it strikes me that our time together wasn’t marked by tears…we rarely cried together. Our time has been marked by full out laughter, fun, craziness, understanding and being understood. Our time together has been marked by JOY. That what I carry in my heart, and I hope you carry in yours.

For a long time felt like I was supposed to be the one teaching – that’s how we started after all and I’m the “big” sister – but you have schooled me girl, and I have learned life lessons from you about strength, determination, unconditional love, and grace, even when it ain’t pretty. You’ve been an awesome teacher. Even red ink needs a few “corrections” every now and then. I suspect I’ll just keep asking for your guidance, so keep an open ear…please?

For my 50th birthday, you know I said I was going to get a tattoo (and you promptly called me cray…). But I was determined…no temporaries, but clear, indelible, unremovable ink…Hey girl, I think you might actually be my “tattoo”…my pink ink that has made an imprint on my heart, and will always, always, always be with me. Love you girl…

Nothing else that I have to say is that important…what do you want or need me to do? ❤️❤️❤️😘😘😘😥😥😥💔

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 20:01:16

    Such a beautiful letter. Praying for you and the Bs and everyone in Barbra’s life. She will continue to be an inspiration to so many and I am so grateful for having known her in this lifetime…


  2. Victoria Brooks
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 20:41:31

    First of all I am so sorry to hear of Barbra’s passing, but as I look back on her life and know how much she lived, I celebrate her. I celebrate your sisterhood and wish every woman could know that kind of unbreakable bond. The yin to her yang. How awesome is that! Over the past two years I have read the blog and laughed and cried with you. Thanks to for helping to share her story. I will keep the B’s in prayers and that you all find strength in family, friends and Barbra’s incredible legacy.


  3. yasmin cader
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 22:01:16

    My heart is broken, along with yours. The B’s — all three of them — are in my heart, thoughts and prayers. As are you, red ink. Loving the way in which you and Barb have done takes tremendous courage and character. An example to us all . . .


  4. mainelyhopeful
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 22:25:29

    So, so sorry


  5. Jennifer B.
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 00:09:31

    Oh my, I knew it was near with her last text to me.I am heart broken. Please share service information when available.


    • Jennifer B.
      Nov 09, 2013 @ 13:09:25

      I dreamt of her last night. There was a party and all loved ones were with her making sure she knew how important she was to each and everyone one, including me. I know she she knew that. I did not know her as well as most, but it was clear that she was loved and that she loved. What a beautiful life.


  6. Joyce
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 00:50:51

    I met Barbara once in her parents’ kitchen in Sarasota. We never know our strength until challenged. She was a truly heroic woman who left an indelible imprint on those of us who shared her cancer journey with her. More important, I marveled over the the magnificent and courageous way she took control of how she lived her last two years. May God bless her husband, daughter, parents and other relatives and the dear friends she shared with us along the way.


  7. JC Ellis
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:39:30

    Thank you for posting. God is cradling your fragile hearts. I’m glad Pink Ink got to see her play performed. She was a warrior. Prayers will continue for lil’ B, Big B and her friends and family.


  8. Helen Imes
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 03:58:16

    My dear “baby niece “as I so often called her, has left me now with so many beautiful thoughts and memories. I cherish my life with her from the time she was only a few months in this world until it was time to let her go on the journey to be with all the others that I have loved and lost As I waited for my sister to call me late in the night with the final news I could only think of the future without my baby niece here.. But she left us with so much that we have to give to others just like she gave to us…so much HOPE for a CURE for the evil, vicious cancer that she fought so hard to erase from her body. She started the walk for the cure when I was diagnosed and she continued to believe in the cause even after it wracked her body much worse than it ever came upon me.. The cure will come someday, hopefully soon, before we lose too many more Barbra’s to the evil of cancer. My prayers are for her husband, and sweet little daughter who now must live the life that Barbra taught her to live, and of course her parents and her brother who continue to love her and all that she was to them. Thank you red ink for being being the sister that you were to my baby niece. She truly loved you and it was you who brought out the talent she had to write so skillfully on this venue and then to go on to create “Life in the Cancer Lane”. Her wish to see it produced was fulfilled, only because of the determination, loyalty and faithfulness of dear friends like you. .May the love of God keep those of us who knew and loved and believed in her allow us all to live abundantly and safely in love and peace. Aunt Mona


  9. Andrea Smith
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 15:45:46

    I met Barbra through some mutual friends. I definitely thought “she was out of my league”. So exposed, so accomplished, so together. We went on to spend many Thursdays at “Play Group” together even authoring a book together. You don’t meet too many people like Barbra these days. Words cannot express all the things that I admired and respected about her. I thank her for sharing her journey with us; it helped me to understand what this “Life in Cancer Lane” was really about. But why should I be surprised? That is what I loved most about her…her realness. Often times black women can make other black women feel uncomfortable especially when we don’t share the same background or accomplishments. That was never the case with B…NEVER. I am going to miss her posts, her voice, her pics with her hand on her hip…She will always be an inspiration and I thank God for allowing her to come into my life. God Bless her family, her friends and everyone else that was touched by her presence. May her spirit live on in each of us!


  10. Trackback: … and still no words. Rest in PEACE Barbra Watson-Riley |
  11. Karen Lubeck
    Nov 11, 2013 @ 21:10:39

    Such a beautiful, vibrant woman and wonderful friend. We met as 12-year-olds. I can’t comprehend her passing. I send my support to all who are mourning her! And I am so thankful for having known her. We had not seen each other in years, but every time we were in touch, I knew that we had a connection and understood each other. I will miss her!


  12. Magaela Bethune
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 03:53:57

    I’ve finally worked up the nerve to post here. I just want to send love to you, red ink, the Bs, and to the entire PWC family. I consider Pinkwellchick (Barb to me :)) to be my BC mentor, and I tell ya, she truly saved my life. We connected from across the country (from Phoenix to Nashville) via Twitter on one fated day when June Ambrose shared my story on Twitter. At the time, I was a 27 year old wife and mother of three sons (7, 4, and 2 yrs) and in my first year of a PhD program when I was diagnosed with BC. @pinkwellchick had replied to June’s tweet, and June connected us from there.

    Ever since, Barb has mentored me – taught me how to fight HARD for my life. She kept me on my toes with #cancerrealtalk and connected me with others through #survivor2survivor. I followed this blog religiously – crying, laughing, and shaking my head with the rest of you!

    All I can say now is, thank you, thank you, thank you. @Pinkwellchick, there is a star in the Phoenix sky that shines brighter now. Your family will yet remain in my prayers. My hope is that your legacy constantly reminds us all to live with CONVICTION!

    Rest in Peace Sistah/Sawrah/Friend/Mentor


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