Saturday, April 22, 2006

I miss her...

While my parents were here I found out one of my best friends died of breast cancer and no one contacted me. I wanted to fly home for the funeral. I wanted to see her one last time. I would send her e-mails and she said to keep sending them even though she didn't respond because she loved reading them. So I did. I would send them and hope that she was able to read them. On March 23 I sent one that simply said, "I LOVE YOU!" That was 3 days before she died. I have sent a few more since. I would usually send very long and detailed ones. For some reason, that day, I just needed her to know that I loved her and missed her.

After several years of fighting she finally lost her battle with breast cancer and Bazil and Cecil (10 and 8) have lost their mom, my friend. I still remember the day she told me she had breast cancer. She sat me down and told me. Then she spent an hour trying to calm me down. You would have thought she was telling me I had breast cancer. I cried. When she lost her hair the first time I decided to go with a short look and I cut off almost two feet of hair and gave it to her to have a wig made. We laughed and she ended up donating it to locks of love. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her.

Here's the article from the Sacramento Bee:

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Obituary: Beautician Colette LaRoche knew where true beauty lay

By Robert D. Dávila -- Bee Staff WriterPublished 2:15 am PDT Thursday, April 6, 2006
Story appeared in Metro section, Page B6

Colette LaRoche was an elegant woman who mingled with celebrities, created perfect flower arrangements and wore Prada and Chanel. But she knew real beauty is more than skin deep.
A top Sacramento hairstylist, she won renown as a creative designer among loyal customers who waited months to sit in her chair. She spoke French and traveled to Paris to bring back the latest styles for clients. She was a chef, photographer, singer and creative force who enjoyed music, literature and art.

She also was a loyal friend, a loving mother and wife, and a breast cancer patient who endured chemotherapy and radiation that ravaged her body. But her spirit remained strong as she chronicled her battle to live. "It is the part of me that you can't see that is so special," she wrote in a book by local author Judie Panneton and Dr. Ernie Bodai of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. "Cancer can't get to my heart or my soul. I remain strong and positive."

Mrs. LaRoche, a co-owner of Moss Salon, died March 27 of breast cancer at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, said her sister, Rhonda Bowerman. She was 46. Family and friends recalled a bon vivant who enjoyed French cuisine and vacationed in Cannes but remained a down-to-earth hairdresser who was named by a local magazine in 1983 as the best punk stylist in town. Her closet mixed designer labels with cowboy boots. She maintained a cheerful outlook when she was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. Driving to radiation treatments, she stopped to buy mocha drinks and muffins for the medical staff. On her last day of chemotherapy, she threw a party at the hospital and presented a bouquet of flowers to the doctor.

"She was so larger than life, and she did not have a lot of patience for the mundane or ordinary," said close friend and KFBK news anchor Kitty O'Neal. "If that was all life gave to her, she would find a way to make it special or fun."

Mrs. LaRoche was born in 1959 to a warehouseman and housewife in Sacramento and grew up in Half Moon Bay, where she was a high school cheerleader. The creative young woman who cut her dolls' hair as a child graduated from beauty college in Sacramento and eventually opened Pinky's, a downtown salon, in 1985. She quickly made her name by shaving patterns on customers' heads and dyeing the designs. She once gave a mohawk to a 60-year-old woman that appeared in the National Enquirer. As her fame and following grew, she worked at several shops before joining Moss Salon a year ago. Clients included local celebrities and the Dixie Chicks, for whom she did makeup when they were in town. She married Lance Atkinson, who died suddenly in 1994. She married David LaRoche, a chef at Paragary's restaurant, and raised sons Bazil, 10, and Cecil, 8. Fear of leaving her sons galvanized Mrs. LaRoche to fight cancer hard while enjoying each day as if it were the last. "The courage she faced cancer with was an expression of the kind of passion that she lived her life with," said TV personality Stan Atkinson, her former father-in-law.

Mrs. LaRoche also contributed an essay to "The Breast Cancer Book of Strength and Courage" by Panneton and Bodai, describing how she explained breast cancer to her children, then ages 4 and 2, over a breakfast of ice cream. She spoke of her illness as a gift that helped others see what truly matters in life, and she offered fundamental words of wisdom. "The best advice I can give anyone, breast cancer or not, is to live your life," she said. "After all, isn't that what we're supposed to do?"

Colette LaRocheBorn: Aug. 8, 1959
Died: March 27, 2006
Remembered for: Successful hairstylist and co-owner of Moss Salon; promoted breast cancer awareness, including a published essay and short film about her fight that was shown at the Sundance Film Festival

Survived by: Husband, David LaRoche of Sacramento; sons, Bazil LaRoche and Cecil LaRoche of Loomis; parents, Ben and Janice Schmidt of Loomis; sister, Rhonda Bowerman of Loomis
Memorial services: Celebration of life, 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Spataro Ristorante, 1415 L St., Sacramento

Remembrances: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund for Bazil LaRoche and Cecil LaRoche at Bank of America, 7060 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay, CA 95746.

I'm so sad. I miss her.