I worked with two women this year who battle cancer. It was my first year at this school, they had worked together for two years prior. Jacque had been there for 10 years. Jacque, my co-teacher, found out in December that her breast cancer has metastasized. She is the friend that blogs. She's doing okay, undergoing chemotherapy and also cardiac rehab. She's the bravest, strongest, most positive woman I have ever met. Sorry, Jacque, if that embarrasses you. But just embrace it. You are woman, I hear you roar.
Jacque and I also worked with Patty, who had been battling colon cancer that had metastasized in her lung two years ago. This spring her cancer spread to her bone, liver, etc. She was still working 6 weeks ago and now it has taken her life. It seemed really fast. To them, I'm sure perhaps an eternity. But also really fast. She was the other bravest woman I've ever known. Patty was a paraeducator in our classroom, having stayed home with her own three kids for 25 years. She also was a caregiver to people with disabilities in her home for 30 years as well. She was this amazing person who took time off only for her ongoing chemotherapy, otherwise coming to work every day because she just loved those kids. Really loved them. She felt bad for me when she couldn't work anymore. For me! She was so unselfish. And wise. I learned so much from her this year. She was this wonderful parent. An advocate for people with disabilities. She also could cook. And sing. And play piano. I could go on and on about Patty. She died on Tuesday at home. Her girls were with her. It was time.
But it wasn't time, you know? She was only 56 (57?), way too young. To be so sick. But her pain was unbearable and she didn't want to put her family through any more. She said good-bye to many people. We had several conversations about how disappointing it was that her time was up. About how we had hoped to work together another year. She had a lot left to do. Her kids' weddings. Grandkids. It seems unfair.
So that's what's going on this week. That's got me so sad. It's hard to write about much else. But I did feel the need to clarify, because my friend Jacque is fighting dandelions and she needs your prayers. She's not going anywhere. She's a fighter. And she is very much alive.