Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rest In Peace

When we lived in Eastcoast-ville, the girls and I would walk to a nice playground about 15 minutes away a few times a week. We met many people there and in fact formed a playgroup of some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life there.

There was one woman I didn’t get to know well, but I saw her or her children almost every time I was at the park. As Mom’s do at the park, when we’d see each other, we’d say hello and chat about our kids. A few times, we sat and talked while our kids played together. She had 2 kids; a boy and a girl; and truly they were great kids. As though its’ freeze-framed in my head, I can almost completely recall a conversation we had one sunny afternoon, munching cookies at the picnic table in the shade of the big oak tree, while our kids practiced hitting baseballs, at least 2 years ago. After that conversation I wished to have the chance to know her better. She was funny, smart, honest, sharp witted, opinionated (in a good way) and one of the most patient and kind mothers’ I’ve ever met.

She lived close to the park, so I’d see her often. We’d wave, I’d always say hi to her kids when I saw them but, we never really got the chance to connect again.

Then a friend, who knew her quite well, told me that she had had a rare throat cancer, but beat it. However, shortly after meeting her I learned that her cancer was back – in her hip. Then her liver, then it was gone. Then it came back and it was spreading fast and attacked her brain with a ferocity that took our breath away.

Before we moved, I had signed Mouse up to start preschool. It was a busy preschool that was filling up fast and I was hoping for a spot in a morning class. There was one spot that might have been available, so I was put on a waiting list. After talking to the director, she told me that the child’s mother whose spot we might be taking was very ill and they weren’t sure if he was going to be attending. I realized immediately who she was talking about and felt a little sick to know I could be taking her son’s spot.

After we moved I followed her treatment, care and progress on Care Pages. In October, she went home. She likely didn’t have much time left.

The other day I was thinking so strongly about her that I went to check her site, but there weren’t any updates. Though it broke my heart to do so, I Googled her name for an obituary. Again, I didn’t find anything.

This morning there is an email with an update from her husband. She passed away last night with her family and friends by her side.

Though I have already cried many times, for this woman I don’t know very well, and I don’t even know if she remembered me, I’m crying again this morning. My heart cries for her family. In sadness, it cries thinking of all they’ve been through this year; of all she’s had to endure. In unfairness, it cries thinking of 2 children without their mother. In relief, it cries because she’s not suffering any more. In frustration, it cries because it seems as though this world should not have lost this special person. And, selfishly (and guiltily), I’m looking at my girls and crying; knowing there are no guarantees.

Keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. Send them strength to get through the holiday and the weeks and months ahead.

Rest in peace, Laura. I hope you know your special spirit has touched many people’s lives.

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