A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) The first novel in the Captain’s Point series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
A Man for Susan (Captain’s Point Stories) The second novel in the Captain’s Point Series. A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) a full-length cozy mystery by Annie Acorn.
Once again, I want to depart from my normal blog subject matter in order to honor a friend.
As we enter the Fourth of July holiday weekend, many of us are rushing around preparing for swim parties, barbeques, crab boils, clam bakes, and trips to the beach.
Every now and then, one of us may actually pause and think for a moment about those brave men and women, who put their lives on the line for us so long ago. For that is what they did, my friends, when they declared our independence from England and in the same breath committed treason.
My friend, we’ll call her H, was such a person.
She, too, put her life on the line for us, although hers was a different war. Her fight was against cancer.
For many years, H served as a Head Surgical Nurse at Sloan-Kettering, where she assisted as radioactive pellets were implanted in cancer patients.
By the time I met H, she had retired and moved to the Washington, D.C. area to be near her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
During the move, all of her possessions had been stolen by an unscrupulous moving company, who had shown up at her door, demanded a hefty deposit, loaded her earthly goods into a truck, and then driven away – never to be seen again.
You would never have known that anything bad had ever happened to her, and yet, when I knew her, she was already suffering from bone cancer – the last survivor of her surgical team, the rest of whom had already succumbed to the disease they had all fought so gallantly.
Not one to give up without a fight, H had undergone a stem cell transplant, utilizing her own stem cells.
When I met her, she had just returned to work on the medical research project, where I served as a Health Information Specialist. Her prognosis was guarded, but good.
She had one of the sweetest smiles I have ever known. She was kind, generous, and helpful. Humor peppered every conversation I had with her.
Everyone loved her. She was everyone’s friend, everyone’s Mary Kay rep, and everyone’s substitute mother.
Then one day, H went for a routine check-up at her doctor’s. When she returned, she asked if she could speak with me. The news had not been good.
The cancer was back, and her platelet count was way down. The only real recourse she had was another stem cell transplant, but this time it would require a donor.
H was nearing her seventy-fifth birthday, and in the intervening years since her last transplant she had developed late onset diabetes. As a healthcare professional herself, she knew what her true odds for success really were – we both did.
Within days, everyone on the project – over two hundred people – knew about H’s renewed personal battle, but H refused to look upon sad faces all around her.
Privately, she shared with me that she was ready to go home to her God. Death held no fear for her.
Publically, her smile still radiated as she agreed to go through another transplant to fulfill her family’s wishes.
Secretly, she hoped there would be no acceptable donor.
Her sister was a match on the requisite two points, and H geared herself to accept the inevitable.
Quietly, she began clearing her desk, leaving behind just enough personal items so that, she hoped, no one would notice.
Then she began the trips to the hospital for platelets, until finally things came to a head – H was platelet dependent. The transplant had to be now or never.
On the last day she was with us, everyone gathered around. There were hugs and tears and best wishes.
“I’ll be back soon,” she called as she blew us kisses.
H never came back. The transplant was unsuccessful, and on July 4, 2008, her wish to be with her God was granted.
I was asked to speak at her funeral. I wasn’t sure that I could do it without crying, and then came the really hard part. How could I articulate what H had represented to the several hundred people that I knew would attend?
I, who had written all my life, struggled for words.
In the end, it was really quite simple.
I explained to those present that we often throw out casual phrases when we describe those whom we know. “She’s a nice person,” or “He’s really funny,” or “She’s so sweet.” – to name a few.
H was all of these things, but then, she was so much more.
I believe in good and evil, and in my lifetime, I have only known three people, who I would truly describe as being the personification of goodness.
H was, quite simply, good.
And so, while the children swim and the adults visit at my family’s Fourth of July barbecue, I know there will be a moment when I will pause and remember those who risked so much for our independence all those years ago, as well as those who continue to put themselves at risk for the benefit of others around them today.
I know that I will pause and remember H, whom I loved.
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn.