Thursday, January 4, 2007

Best of Times, Worst of Times


I've been retired from the Chicago Public Schools for 18 months now. While I love being retired and being able to quilt for fun and profit, it was exactly 18 months ago that my college roommate Dodie told me she had lung cancer. The first fall of my retirement I was ecstatic to not be in a school. But I didn't necessarily want to be at the Cancer Pavillion at the University of Indiana - Purdue University either.

Dodie went through 8 weeks of Chemo and Radiation that fall. Her husband Furman took her for the first two weeks. Her daughter Mani had a week. So did friend Deborah from Indianapolis. Furman's sisters Jean and Nancy each took a week. I was the Week 5 driver and actually got the best end of things. With Nancy Dodie was sick. With Jean she lost her hair. Dodie did ok during my week. One day we were at the hospital for 12 hours, but I had my hand quilting project with me. These hours with Dodie were like a good, long, lazy visit - with the exception of Dodie having tubes of chemicals dripping into her. She was remarkably upbeat as we shuffled from the Infusion floor to the Radiation floor. I finished my hand project by machine and gave Dodie her quilt in January, 2006.

2006 was the "Wait and See" year, but Dodie's cancer metastasized to her liver by the spring of 2006. Her health was good enough to thoroughly enjoy the family vacation and her birthday in Myrtle Beach in July. But then pain management became a key concern.

She died December 18, 2006 - just as the finishing touches were being put on my new quilting studio. Dodie asked me during the summer to write and deliver her eulogy. Her memorial service was December 22, 2006. What a sad end to the year.

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