A Tribute To a Friend: HelenJayne Fremlin
One beautifully sunny day several years ago, I sat in a coffee shop eating breakfast with my husband and received news that a dear friend with brain cancer is no longer responding to treatment. Her treatment phase is over. Words that still don’t seem real today. Immediately, I felt a pause as if time froze for a moment, and then it came.
The rush of heavy emotion rolled over every inch of my body. At first, I choked back the tears, hoping no one would notice. Then, they began to flow.
Suddenly, everything looked completely out of place and I felt anger creep in. How can I sit here and eat when my friend is dying? This stupid green tea chai, I want to throw it against the wall. Can I jump out of my chair and start running so this truth can’t catch up with me? I want to run. I really want to jump up and RUN. RIGHT. NOW.
Make it stop. Make it all go away. Please. I beg you.
And then I breathe…
How We Met
It doesn’t happen often enough. The moment that you meet someone and you feel a calmness in your heart as if you have known that person your entire life. Perhaps you have known them through many lifetimes.
Several years ago, I accepted a challenge to “Vlog (Video Blog) Every Day in February” from a group run by Tamara Laporte, of Willowing.org. This was well before the entire world was posting on TikTok and Instagram, although it feels like it was yesterday.
My friend, Marnie, had posted this challenge on Facebook, and immediately I knew I needed to do it even though I didn’t know exactly what “it’ was. However, I was in a rut and I was itching for something different. This certainly was different!
There was a little whisper from the Universe to go outside of my comfort zone and thankfully, I listened. Little did I know the ways in which my world would expand from knowing this incredible group of kind-hearted, creatives.
A Human Experience
For many years, I’ve chosen a word as my “word of the year;” A word that I’m interested in exploring in relation to myself. That year happened to be “vulnerability.” The challenge was the perfect opportunity to share and experience all that vulnerability had to offer! Around that same time, the universe brought me several messages that to be vulnerable is to experience growth. I was ready to grow.
Prior, I worked as a marketing consultant and I enjoyed on-camera opportunities — everything from public speaking to performing product demonstration videos. That part didn’t scare me as much as I noticed it did other members of the group. However, this was different. There was no carefully written outline or script. I was simply asked to be me. Raw, vulnerable me.
On the very first day, I hit the “record” button without even thinking and showed the group (to whom I did NOT know were ALL artists yet) my homemade batch of pineapple-ginger sauerkraut.
To my surprise, the more I vlogged, the more nervous I became. I questioned why a bunch of talented artists would listen to a suburban housewife ramble about her day. Boy, was I naïve! They were just like me–humans having a human experience. This group from around the world wrapped me up in a blanket of love to hold space and honor my unique human experience. It was often energizing and even emotional at times.
From the beginning, one vlogger in particular, HelenJayne Fremlin, or as everyone calls her, HJ, pulled me in with her amazingly calm energy and soothing warmth like a cup of herbal tea. I learned of her sweet dog, Humphry, her passion for knitting (especially cute stocking hats!), and that she was a lung cancer survivor (she was the statistic who never smoked a day in her life). I adored her stories dotted with abundant wisdom and kindness and always wanted to hear more.
During the challenge, I learned that HelenJayne was starting a journey as an astrological coach. She wanted volunteers for a free astrological reading. I jumped at the chance, but many people replied before me. I figured she was probably too full. As fate (or celestial alignment) would have it, she let me sneak in as the “one extra.”
Astrological readings were new to me, therefore I didn’t have any expectations. Instead, I came with an open mind and heart ready for any guidance I might receive. As we spoke via Skype, I scrambled to write down every detail, taking moments to reflect or ask questions on what resonated.
One highlight of the reading was when HJ explained how the planetary and celestial alignment probably cause some controlling and perfectionist tendencies often found in Virgo’s like myself. Probably!? Ha. She totally nailed it. However, HJ warmly explained that it’s OK and that I’m “complete” just as I am right now. She assured me that everything is already perfect. She wanted me to understand that everything is the way it’s meant to be right now. At that moment, I literally began to feel my mind shifting inside my head.
The most beautiful part of the reading was a feeling of wholeness and incredible excitement for what was around the corner. HJ shared with me that there was a BIG shift coming around September; That perhaps I would be unveiling or announcing something new. I knew exactly what she meant. I could feel it in my bones and was SO crazy, excited I almost jumped out of my chair! That year, I was in the midst of “rearranging” my life and was determined to follow my dreams.
After the session had ended, my head was buzzing with information, and it suddenly hit me that the Universe was talking to me through HJ–a direct connection! She was simply a conduit of what the stars were communicating. This celestial communication was the nudge I needed to walk directly into my fear.
One day, on her vlog post, HJ shared that she was experiencing recurring headaches. My immediate thought was, “It’s probably hormones since that’s what happens at this age, right? I’m sure she will get it figured out soon.” The headaches persisted, but so did her sweet demeanor, therefore I certainly didn’t think much of it.
Soon after, the Vlog challenge ended, and HJ and I became friends on Facebook. We scheduled what we called “coffee chats” where we would Skype and hang out as “old friends” sharing stories and talking about life. This new friendship abroad (yes, Canada is abroad!) was precisely what my soul craved.
A few months went by where we would chat off and on, and then I noticed that HJ tagged me on Facebook for the first time. I was expecting a funny meme or something with cute, fluffy animals. Instead, what I discovered was the tragic news that this wonderful friend (or spirit guide, as I like to call her) had lesions on her brain.
Soon after came the devastating news that HJ’s lung cancer had metastasized and she had brain cancer.
Why? Why her? Why anyone, damn it! She is too young. She was only in her 40’s. The results must be wrong.
The last time we had direct contact was about five months prior to receiving that news. HJ shared her cravings of ice cream after one of her treatments. So my kids and I did what every vlogger would do! We sent HJ a little video of us dancing to music as we ate ice cream. It was my turn to spread some loving kindness.
I’ll always think of you, HJ, when we indulge in ice cream (and dance music, of course!).
Simply Be You
Even though I have not met HJ in person, it’s easy to say that she made an unforgettable impact on my life. She inspires me to be me, just as I am, right now.
Isn’t that what this human experience is all about? To help others simply by showing up in this world as ourselves?
Let’s honor the beautiful spirit of HJ today and every day… Listen to the whispers of the Universe, simply be YOU, and move forward with loving kindness.
Thank you, HJ, for being YOU.
Love and peace,