I had a cousin Nan who was one of the bravest women I have ever known. When we were young we went and hitchhiked around Europe for about four months and every once in a while she would start feeling sick and we would have a couple of down days. She even was taken to the hospital in London for tests by the people from Burroughs Welcome we were visiting with since they were worried about her and they picked up the bill.
This happened several times and when she arrived back home she went to the doctors and they removed her gall bladder figuring that would solve her problems. Well, that is not the way it went. Later she was still having various medical problems and her sister told her when to go to the ER as there would be a very good doctor there. It turned out she had a benign brain tumor. She had surgery and afterwards went through a period of recovery.
The surgery had left her with some deficits that she learned to live with and she was able to return to teaching.
Later she married a wonderful man who loved her totally and had the most amazing commitment to her. They had two sons and due to her various issues she made a commitment to spend her time and energy being the best mom she could be for her boys. She did not go and visit others but saved her energy to go to her sons hockey games or baseball games.
As time went on and her sons were getting out into the world as successful young men Nan’s tumor was coming back and she had other problems. She fought like a trooper. When she could no longer hear she carried a notepad with her everywhere so she could still communicate. I remember visiting her and going for a walk. She was unsteady but just took my arm and we walked side by side.
I cherish the times I had with her since we had been friends since childhood. In the end she was in a nursing home since it was so hard to care for her at home but she was still the center of her husbands life and he gave his all to her. They were the sweetest couple I have ever known and lived through such difficulties at times but they had the strength to see the good over the bad and made the most of all that was handed to them.
To this day I miss her so much. She was strong and steady compared to my hyper unpredictable self. We had such good times together and the memories are such wonderful ones.