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independence day

My friend Patti’s sister Jeannie died last night after an intense, exhausting battle with cancer. First breast cancer, then several years later, ovarian cancer. She lived 3 hours away but used to come to Madison to do Race for the Cure with us. This was the first year she couldn’t make it. The cancer was back this winter, and she had extensive surgery in January. Then there was nothing more that could be done.

I didn’t mention this earlier, but I saw her last weekend. Patti doesn’t drive, and her husband works long hours, so various friends had been taking Patti to see her family. I volunteered for a turn, because I really wanted to see Jeannie again. It was a humbling experience. I met Patti and Jeannie’s 93-year-old mother, who is robust and witty. Jeannie had a stroke a few months ago, and her vision was affected. She could barely squeak out a few words, and the morphine had her sleeping much of the time. Her skin was stretched over her bones and was yellowed from liver failure. I knew I wouldn’t see her again.

I can’t imagine the loss that her family is feeling right now. The only consolation is that Jeannie is finally free again.