Thursday, June 05, 2008

A life ended too soon

I just learned that a former co-worker, someone I used to supervise, has died. She was 44. She died due to complications from a fibroid tumor. She was a nurse, a nurse practitioner, and she treated lots of other people's diseases, but she wouldn't treat her own. She adopted a baby from someone in her family who couldn't take care of him. That baby is probably about 3 years old now. Now he's lost his mom, too.

I'm feeling very sad.

M was a quiet, but strong-willed person. I met her the first time when I worked in family planning. I met her again when I started working at BMC, only this time she was once of the research assistants I was assigned to supervise.

M was single, and didn't talk much about men, but she wanted very much to be a mom, and when the opportunity arose, she grabbed it. Pretty quickly, her son was born, and she acclimated to the role of mother very fast. She didn't complain much, even though she was tired and working a full time job and a part time job.

M was a very religious person, very G-d fearing. She was a straight-forward person. She once told me, "I love my parents - I don't understand why people complain about their parents."

I remember very clearly having a conversation with M and another co-worker about her fibroids. M's doctor wanted her to have surgery, but M didn't want to. "I don't want someone cutting me," she said. This is so foreign to the way I was raised, the way I believe -- to do anything to cure a disease -- but there wasn't really anything I could say to convince her. The surgery was scheduled, then canceled. She didn't talk about it much after that. Was she just willing the fibroids away?

Since I left that job, about a year and a half ago, I haven't heard from from M or about M. I just assumed she was going on with her life, her work, her child. But today: it's all gone.

And I'm sad.

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