santa cruz wharf

15 February 2009

be good at life

Today we lost my sister-in-law Donna to GVHD.
Graft Verses Host Disease.

donna Christmas 1981
                         (Christmas 1981)

Donna leaves her husband, her twelve year old son, and her twin six year old daughters.  She is just a few months younger than I am.

She is my ex-husband's little sister...
aunt to my oldest daughter. 

She stood with me when I was married...
I stood with her when she was married.

A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away... before I knew her brother, Donna and I met while she was a reporter for The Daily Bruin.  We became sorority sisters, and then sisters-in law. Donna grew up to become a formidable lawyer.  Our lives took us on different paths. I had not seen her in quite a while.

She was a devoted wife and loving mommy...
the fun, festive, perfect aunt, who knew what questions to ask.

Donna has been battling leukemia for a few years and last October had a Stem Cell Transplant... which seemed to be successful in that her bone marrow showed no signs of leukemia cells. But in the past week or so the transplanted cells realized they were in a genetically foreign body and attacked it.

The last eighteen months have been a time of loss for me.  I've written about my Grandfather. And of my Mama's own battle with cancer. But I haven't written of the others who have died. I haven't written about the inordinate number of people in my life....friends and family....who are literally fighting for their lives. 

In our tears tonight my daughter and I contemplated that we are not finished losing yet...and that being able to handle tragic death is not something we want to be good at.

We want to be good at LIFE.

A couple weeks ago Jazz left this following quote in a comment on Mimi's blog. It struck me and so I googled the quote...and found it originated in an article by Thomas Lynch from November 2000 in Esquire Magazine(this is exactly the kind of serendipity that makes me love the internet....the article is worth the read.)

"There's no easy way to do this.
So do it right:
weep, laugh, watch, pray, love,
live,  give thanks and praise;
comfort, mend, honor,
and remember."

I will always remember.
see ya on the other side....

22 comments:

I, Like The View said...

oh Katherine

*pauses*

as you say, kinda - or perhaps it's just all I read - one can take two things positive from someone's death: the love for their life and the love for yours

I am so thinking of you, and yours

X

I, Like The View said...

blast

two positive things

<---- having difficulty typing right

Mags said...

I'm so sorry to read this Katherine. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Dana said...

Prayers are with all of you!

Mel said...

(((((((((( katherine ))))))))))

Can't do that big enough, yaknow?

I hear ya.

LIVE big.

Desert Songbird said...

There was a time in my life when I felt that I became good at death; my parents' deaths came hard and fast and very close together. Being a very young adult, I thought that these events would define me as a person.

In some ways they did, but I hope that I've overcome that burden and have chosen instead to be person of courage because of that not in spite of that.

My prayers to you, dear friend. I hope that you find peace in your heart.

burgundy wines said...
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Bond said...

Katherine...what a sad loss...I pray for her families and friends that they find strength during this difficult time.

My best friend lost a good friend a few weeks ago and we talked about the fact that we are at that time in our lives when this is not going to be an uncommon occurrence...and that made me sad...

The CEO said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It takes time but you will remember the best of your sister-in-law, and you will cherish your memories as you celebrate life.

Linda said...

Such a tragedy that the transplant that was supposed to lengthen Donna's life, ended up being the end of it. It seems that with medicine, it's always a hit or miss situation but fighting a disease and trying is so much better than just giving up. Donna doesn't sound like she was a quitter at all.

My heart goes out to you but even more it goes out to Donna's children who now have to grow up without their mother and her husband who has to try to explain why to those children. That is no easy task at all, no matter how long she may have been sick.

As Bond said, we are getting to that point in our lives where we are going to have to deal with death on a more regular basis and even though that's a tough thing to do it is, also, an inevitable thing to do. None of us get out of this alive (at least I've not known of any) and we need to figure out how to handle the balance of life and death. I think being good at life is a start; to know that you lived your best for as long as God granted you time here on Earth is the best that any of us can do as we never know when our time is up. Or the time of our loved ones.

Sending you a big hug (though it's a gentle one due to the whole bad back thing) and hopes for brighter days to come.

Mel said...

(((((((( katherine )))))))))))

Cuz I can.
Cuz 'matters to this one'.
Cuz....

Thinkin' of ya...

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I'm so sorry Katherine. So very sorry. Sometimes it seems that we go through such times of loss. Then we have a minute to breath normally and we start over again.

I love the quote. Now if we can just pull that off. Big hug honey. :)

Jeff W Bach said...

Jugs across the net may not be as good as the real thing, but I offer them to you just the same. (((hugs)))

CrAzY Working Mom said...

sending many thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss.

maryt/theteach said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, katherine. I will keep her in my thoughts and you too.

Mimi Lenox said...

I am so sorry, Katherine. She is so beautiful. Sending hugs and prayers.

Travis said...

Damn. I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm going to donate some more to cancer research.

Matt-Man said...

Sorry about your loss Kat. Here's to you and your friend. Cheers!!

The CEO said...

I am missing you Katherine. I am hoping that all is well with you and your family. Just a little prayer.

Mel said...

Checking in and checking up on ya.
Cuz I can.

Cuz--

(((((((((( katherine )))))))))))

Marilyn said...

I'm sorry. It's not enough, but it's all I got.

Diesel said...

Wow, what a tragedy. And to have to go through the pain of a transplant only to have it end like that. That blows.