Monday, November 10, 2008

Death and Dying

Words cannot express the grief felt, the tears spent, or memories lost when a loved one passes away. If I knew a thousand languages, I would never be able to find the words to convey what a genuine, caring, compassionate person Barbara was.

Barb went to PT school with me and sat in the front row with me. We "front rowers" as we referred to ourselves, studied together, did group projects together, and went out to lunch for each others birthdays. Barbara inspired us to study harder, disregard other's opinions, relish the time spent together, find time in our busy schedules to laugh, and show thanks for what we had just to name a few things. Over all, Barb inspired us all to become not only the best PT we could be, but also the best person.

At the age of 40, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just months before graduation. Due to treatments she almost didn't make it to the graduation ceremony in May. She told us she was doing well. I kept meaning to call. I told myself I was busy. Something throughout the day would make me think of her up there in VA and I'd tell myself to call her that night. But, I never did.

Barbara passed away a week and a half ago after spending a month in the hospital, the last week of which she was on hospice. Thankfully, I was able to get off work and find a reasonable plane ticket to be able to attend her funeral. The memories and thoughts of those she left behind made me both cry and laugh. Her family had made a picture collage of her throughout the years. One picture made us all laugh: after losing her hair, instead of a cap or scarf to cover her head, Barb wore a Rastafarian hat complete with dreads down to her stomach. One previous co-worker told a story that made us all laugh. She took a picture of herself drinking a margarita and sent it via text message, saying "This one's for you, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you." Barb's reply was a picture of her IV running into her arm with the following text: "This is MY margarita." Other stories made me cry or smile, but all made me wish I had known Barbara better and had been a better friend to her.

The past several days have been difficult. It is hard to believe someone so young and full of life can be here one moment, taken for granted, and gone before you know it. Barbara was only 15 years older than me. Too young to be taken by cancer. She was going to be a fantastic PT. She took the time to listen to her patients and she was brilliant. I so regret not calling her these past few months. I wish I had been the friend to her that she was to me. All I can say is that she will be greatly missed.


WanderingGirl said...

Wow. I'm so sorry to hear that. Anytime is too soon when you're talking about someone that young. I hope you use her inspiration to keep you moving down the road you WANT to be on. Peace.

BU said...

I'm sorry to hear of it -- hope you're doing okay!

Rebecca said...

moving tribute about your friend - thanks for sharing her story. Take care.

Alan said...

I found your blog through threads from a couple other blogs- can't remember which ones now.
Just wanted you to know that I am sorry for your loss. I lost my boss suddenly this summer- she was 46 and active- died from an anyuerism. It is strange/hard to deal with when someone so young and vibrant passes away.

KrissyMiss said...

A big thanks to everyone for your kind words. I really appreciate it! Thanks again, Kristen