Piracanga… the change to my spiritual adventure.


It feels like I was just barely introducing yall to my little spiritual adventure of yoga, bugs, beaches and sunburns… and unfortunately I’ve got to say, it’s over.

“Whaaaa? What the deuce?”

Well yah, I know. Hear me out…

Some things in life are amazing. Beaches, sunrises and the ocean are definitely on the list of crazy beautiful things. Plus, if you experience those wonders with a big group of peace loving yogis… and then maybe add in a little vegetarian cuisine and the fact that there is no snow, no traffic and no worries…. Well, hot damn, that’s obviously an amazing way to live. High fives to spiritual journeys that have all those things.

But something else in life that is amazing? Friends. Best friends.

My best friend Deirdre has been fighting cancer for the past 11 months. While I trekked off to Brasil, she was at home in Canada battling the way she did everyday: with grace, courage, strength and beauty.

My friends Jess and Mira kept me up to speed thru emails with Deirdres progress. I could count on them daily. At one point, Deirdres health rapidly declined and Jess took her computer with her to the hospital, to set up a Skype date with Miss Dee for me. What a great friend, right? I love Jess… always loving to help.

The skype episode ended being a wee bit heartbreaking. The Internet connection was really weak, making it hard to actually hold a conversation with my loved ones back in Canada, but what made it really tough, was seeing my best friend “like that.” She was so fragile. For the first time in 11 months, she looked sick to me. I never saw her as a cancer patient, until that moment. It scared me. More than I care to admit.

Then, what seemed to me as coming from out of no where, I found out that the docs were giving her about a week or so to live…

From that moment on, everything was sort of a blur… emails to my travel agent to try and switch my flights home… feelings of being totally mentally flat… loss of clarity of time, not just the hours but the days, too.  It all blended together.

Some how, I landed in Vancouver. My final stop after more than 30 hours and 4 airports, I was on Canadian soil and with in driving distance to seeing my best friend.

“What the fuck! It’s cold here!” I complained to my girlfriend Mira as we walked out of the Vancouver airport. I was rocking (and by rocking I mean totally scrubbed out in) flip flops, tights, tank and bikini top… Mira, who is cute as a button, was decked out in a jacket, hat, scarf, boots and full leggings. I guess somewhere between departing Brasil and landing in Vancouver, I forgot what January in Canada was like. Awesome. SO, not only was I loosing track of time, I was loosing common knowledge of my homeland. Greeeeeat.

Mira drove me to straight to the hospital to be with Miss Dee. And again, that day, and the days that followed were sort of a blur.

That first day there, I was able to get some alone time with Deirdre at the hospital. At this point she was unable to really communicate, and was in a mid-coma. I sat next to her, in shock as to what was happening in. The last time I saw her, before I left for Brasil, we all talked, laughed, hugged, took pictures and were ‘us.’ To go from that to this… ugh… to seeing my bestie lay still in a hospital bed, with no sounds other than her breath, well… that was hard. I struggled. Where were my words? Where was my strength?

Even though I didn’t want to, I started to say my goodbyes. I didn’t know how many more days or even hours we would have left together. I was scared to say it all at first… it was like, as if saying goodbye suddenly would make it happen. Maybe if I don’t say anything, nothing they are saying is going to happen, will. Funny how you will start to negotiate and rationalize things when you feel desperate. Eventually, I put on my big girl panties and started talking out loud to Miss Dee…

I told her things that she had heard me say a million times… how much I loved her, how amazing I thought she was, how my life was more beautiful because she was in it… I told her how much I would miss her and all of our times together… I even threatened her a little: only a best friend can do that. 😉 “You better come visit me, whether it be in my dreams or when I’m awake. I mean it. Or I will kick your ass when I get there.”

Each day that she stayed with us, I told her the same loving (and threatening) things. And each day she stayed with us felt a little more frustrating than the last. You don’t know what feeling helpless feels like, until you experience something like this.

On February 2nd, Miss Dee felt like she was ready.. and shortly after 5pm, she was gone.

No matter how much you are expecting or preparing for death, it still hurts like a mother fucker when it happens. I’m a baby. I don’t have a lot of experience with loosing loved ones. And quite frankly, I suck at it. I look at her family and am like, “man… how do they do it?” They are deeply hurting, yet they still radiate strength and plenty of other inspirational, beautiful qualities. Amazing and unbelievable obviously runs in her genes.

Looking at it over the last few days, I realized that I didn’t leave my spiritual adventure in the jungle for reality at home. I really just changed directions on my spiritual journey. From an interesting tropical one to a greater more powerful one. Though my adventure in Piracanga didn’t end the way we thought it would  – on the beach, with a glorious tan and rocking flexi yogi body – it did end in a far more significant, intense way… one that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life…

Fun fact: Deirdre loved the heat. She loved tropical destinations. And geez, for a white Irish girl, she could sit in the sun for hours. I kinda hope my best friend has found a place similar to Piracanga for herself. I hope she found a beach, with beautiful sunsets and perfect white sand. And of course I hope she found a hottie exotic boy, with some sort of rocking accent, to serve her drinks and rub sunscreen on her back. She would like that. I would like that for her, too…

With love and gratitude for best friends,

McDooogs xoxo

In vegas, poolside. My girl makes friends with a group of rowdy boys. 🙂 Good times.



  1. That was amazingly written Erin… She knows how much you love her and she I’m sure is looking down on you smiling with an amazing tan 🙂 Cherish the moments and keep them fresh in your mind.. Smile and Laugh at the random things you remember and shed a tear or have a big old cry when you feel you have to.. But always remember that she is now in a wonderful place pain free.. She will always be with you in your heart and in your soul… You are an amazing friends.. And people are better and happier knowing you and being in your presence..

    1. That was so kind…. thank you Angela. I appreciate that you just took the time to write me… when people reach out, it really does make it feel a little lighter and a lot less lonely. Thank you xoxo

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss Erin. Thanks for sharing; it was a wonderful tribute to your best friend and was really touching. I know Miss Dee will be with you no matter what (especially with the threats 😉 ). My thoughts are with you.

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