On the morning of November 12, 2015, fellow-blogger and friend, Phil Basset, died unexpectedly. Phil was known to us a Grumpy Elder, owner, publisher and editor of Grumpy Opinions. When my son was diagnosed with Renal Cell Cancer in June 2014, blogger AlphaMom often dropped by to leave encouraging words in comments and emails. She blogged at Grumpy Opinions at times, and Phil later told me that her own daughter, Meredith, was fighting Ovarian Cancer. The day Phil left us we shared some memories of him, and she told me he offered to post her personal eulogy for her daughter on Grumpy Opinions. I’m standing in for Phil today, and the following tribute will be posted at Grumpy Opinions as well.
A little over one month ago, my daughter, Meredith, took her last breath when she lost her battle to Ovarian Cancer. Even when we know, in advance, that the end is near, the actual death comes as a jolt, a shock, and feels unreal. During this past month, we have picked up our life pace and we’ve gone to work, shopped, cooked, talked to our friends, done our daily tasks…even smiled and laughed. During any one of those activities, it will suddenly hit us. The loss, the finality of it is devastating. We will never see her again, never speak to her again, never hug her nor ever include her in any of our family celebrations.
Years ago, one of my other children died. At that time, There were ten children. When I lost my son, people tried to console me by saying, “Well, you still have nine children at home.” True, but there is always an empty space where that child should be. Now, we have two empty spaces.
Meredith was always a dominant personality in the family. She was a good student and she loved any animal. She used to carry garden toads in her pockets. She called them her “sweeties”. She married early…just out of high school. A few years later, she realized that in order to get to where she wanted to be, she’d have to have a university degree. She attained that and went on to work at museums teaching and guiding children in the arts.
Meredith was intelligent, witty, articulate and clever. She mastered the Italian language and won a scholarship to Italy to study. She studied French and spoke good Spanish. While in Italy, she toured many of the famous churches and towns studying and absorbing the art as well as the culture, mores and dialects.
Nearly three years ago, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She began treatment and was treated well and was pronounced “cancer free: in remission” by her final doctor. Of course, she was over-joyed as were we. She began to put her life back together and bought a house. Decorated it with her art collection and settled in. Her three children visited and spent time with her. We all thought that the end of the nightmare had come.
Last April, she was feeling good so she went to Italy to visit a friend. After a few days in Italy, she began to have the old tell-tale symptoms. A lot of abdominal pain. She was to have stayed for the entire month but she cut it short and came home. She saw the doctor and after unsuccessful chemo and tests, she was told that there was nothing more that could be done. The prognosis was that she had only a few days…a week or two at most. Hospice was engaged.
My dear, tough, gritty, determined daughter kicked sand in the face of the cancer and smeared egg on the faces of the prognosticating docs by remaining alive for almost six months longer. During that time, she lived a nearly normal life. In that six months period, we celebrated her last birthday, she was able to shop, she had visits from old, dear friends, family congregated at her house, and she was able to enjoy the company of her three children and celebrate their three birthdays.
During her entire illness, she never looked sick and she never allowed herself to be unbathed nor was she ever disheveled or untidy. She was conscious of her appearance to the end. She had always been fashionable, trendy and chic and she never gave in even while she was at her sickest. Her make-up was always meticulously applied and she was always well turned out. Some may think that she was vain and trivial but I think that it was her way of expressing that she, in spite of the ravages of cancer, was still human.
My friend, Grumpy Elder offered to publish a eulogy if I’d care to write one. I feel a bit better after writing this…it was inside me, wanting to come out. Thanks, Grumpy. M
MRW/AlphaMom 11. 10. 2015