Monday, October 05, 2009

Passing On

Recently, a former co-worker succumbed to cancer. She had been battling the disease for over two years with a great deal of courage and good humor. I remember the strong medicinal smell around her cubicle and sometimes (maybe in my imagination) that of death and decay. Yet there was nothing about her manner that would suggest that she expected to see the end soon. We all admired her spirit but truth be told she often exasperated us with her know-it-all attitude - she was by no stretch of imagination easy to work with.

In doing an outstanding job of ignoring her condition, she made us forget how much she was suffering, the emotional and physical toll it was taking on her. B leaves behind a husband and four young children. We might have been far more accommodating had we always been aware of her condition - but she made sure she was not treated any different from anyone else.

When the news of her passing came, we all recalled her best qualities and if my own example is any indication, with complete sincerity. We remembered her willingness to go out of her way to help others and her resilience. She was no whiner or defeatist. When she was alive, it took an effort to like her though admiring her was easy enough. In death she has both our love and respect - that must be a life well lived.

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