Tuesday, Jean Walsh died. I'd gotten to know her over the course of the past 19 years, since she's the sister of Thing One's brother-in-law. Jean fought cancer for eight years: she was not one of the "lucky" ones that does a lumpectomy, a quick course of radiation and/or chemo and then on with her life. Every time we thought she'd "won", it'd pop back up again. Eventually it metasticized. Last Friday, she was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia and an e-coli infection; on Tuesday her respirator was removed. Jeannie was one of those people who didn't spend a lot of time on "poor me": she was too concerned about her two kids, her ex, her brothers (she had five of them), her parents, other people with breast cancer. Anyone but her.
Because of the whole conference thing, the only thing I could do was go to the Wednesday wake sessions. While I'm physically here in NOLA, my mind is in Westchester, thinking of Jeannie and her family, particularly this morning. Even though we knew this was coming, it's never easy.
Which brings me to my question. At the wake, MJV's sister kept saying, "Thank you for coming." I mumbled something, because the standard responses seem inadequate... "I'm happy to"? ... "Of course I had to come"? ... Nothing seems quite right. I'm never sure how to respond to those comments.
One thing I do know how to say: PLEASE HELP.
Tags: breast cancer