My friend died last weekend. My heart is heavy. Christine was such a beautiful soul. Thoughtful, kind, warmhearted. Far too young to part already. She leaves behind 3 children - beautiful reflections of herself -whom I had the privilege of teaching.
Cancer crept up insidiously. She had shortness of breath. She felt run down.
Aren’t all dedicated teachers?
She left school one day for a doctor’s appointment; she never came back to class. Instead she went to war in the cancer ward. The diagnosis. The deception. The despair. The carnage. The crusade.
She fought her battle against leukemia so gallantly. After the first rounds of hospitalizations and chemotherapy, she went into remission. When cancer reared its ugly head again, she returned to battle. Her sister selflessly donated her bone marrow for a replacement. More hospitalizations. More isolation. More pain. More anxiety. More anguish.
How hard to believe you are getting better when your body weakens from the endless fight?
All that effort bought her a little more time before she succumbed to an infection that attacked her heart. Her heart. Her generous, loving heart.
Who among us has never lost a loved one to disease?
Cancer is especially cruel. It attacks the self. It can only be beat-sometimes just temporarily - by knocking out the immune system leaving the victim vulnerable to the very air breathed.
She left us with a bittersweet reminder we only have today. And treasured memories.
I have so many. She once baked my favorite carrot cake and brought it to our department meeting for my birthday. When I couldn’t drive, she picked me and took me to one of my retirement parties. Years later, wearing a knitted cap to hide her bald head, she swooped in to carry me off for coffee where we lamented our fight to survive.
After my brain surgery, I looked to her for inspiration. I saw how hard she fought with so much grace and dignity. I thought if she can prevail, so can I. And so we faced another day.
Until we didn’t.
Now she is no longer here. A good person gone too soon. I never had the chance to say goodbye.
She lent me books and lesson plans, shared smiles and stories, offered rides and meals. She gave me laughter and joy.
She brightened my days.
Now I mourn for her children, her husband, her sister, her parents, her colleagues and friends, all who feel her passing as an ache that will not subside.
I miss her already.
Rest in peace dear friend.
You left behind the best kind of legacy.
You were greatly loved.