As many of you know, the H*O*P*E*™ weblog is dedicated to Libby, my 26 year old cousin. Libby was diagnosed with ovarian clear cell carcinoma in January 2007. I am deeply saddened to inform you that Libby lost her ovarian cancer battle this morning with her family at her side. Libby leaves behind her loving spouse, Steve, her mother Kathy, her father Dennis, and her sister Sara.
Libby and Steve are the inspiration behind H*O*P*E*™, and its contining campaign to make all women aware of the early warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as significant treatment developments relating to the disease. Upon hearing of Libby’s death this morning, my initial thought was to allow H*O*P*E*™ to go “dark” (from a post reporting perspective) for the next week in her honor. Immediately after that initial thought, two classic songs came to mind as a better way to honor Libby. I believe the song choices were inspired by Libby from a much better place.
The first song is a gospel ballad entitled “Hallelujah.” “Hallelujah” was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who originally released it on his 1984 studio album entitled “Various Positions.” A general translation of the word “Hallelujah” in the Jewish and Christian faiths is “Great Praise to God.” The song “Hallelujah” is frequently used in television shows and movies during scenes involving death or heartbreak. The reason for this, I believe, is that the song evokes strong emotions that capture the struggle to love, pray, and live with faith in the midst of tragic human suffering. Libby experienced that same struggle throughout her treatment, yet continued her fight to the end with grace and courage.
“Hallelujah” has been covered by various singers more than 120 times (counting only recorded, not live, versions). American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley recorded one of the best-known and emotionally moving covers of “Hallelujah” for his 1994 studio album entitled “Grace.” Buckley, not wholly satisfied with any one take, recorded the song more than twenty times. In September 2007, a poll of fifty songwriters conducted by Q Magazine listed “Hallelujah” among the all-time “Top 10 Greatest Tracks,” with John Legend calling Buckley’s version “as near perfect as you can get.” A hyperlink to Jeff Buckley’s cover version of “Hallelujah” is provided below as an acknowledgment of Libby’s courageous fight against ovarian cancer.
The second song is “[There’s a] Hole in the World [Tonight], which was recorded by The Eagles, a legendary U.S. rock band. In August 2001, The Eagles returned to the U.S. upon completion of a successful European tour to record a new album. The band was scheduled to begin recording on September 11, 2001. “Hole in the World” was written by the band in five part harmony to express the fear, sorrow, and future hope stemming from that tragic day. The lyrics set forth in the first verse of the song are as follows:
“There’s a hole in the world tonight.
There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow.
There’s a hole in the world tonight.
Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.”
I believe that Libby would abide by the message set forth in the last two sentences of that verse. Today, our family has a hole in its world as a result of Libby’s death, but H*O*P*E*™ cannot allow that fear and sorrow to create a hole in the world of another woman and her family through the failure to move ahead with its educational mission. Libby would tell you that “education increases survival.”
A video of The Eagles singing “Hole in the World” is provided below, as inspiration for all individuals who are involved in the fight against ovarian cancer. This fight will require perseverance through medical research, advocacy, education and fundraising until ovarian cancer is vanquished.
As an enduring tribute to Libby, H*O*P*E*™ revised the weblog homepage caption to read “Libby’s H*O*P*E*™.” We love you Libby and will forever miss you, but we will continue the fight against ovarian cancer on your behalf.
The Eagles – Hole In the World