I have spent the better part of a week now waiting for peace to come to a friend/former teacher losing her battle with MS. The thoughts that have come to mind this week have been varied, from guilt I didn't keep in touch aside from emails and letters and help out more, to having flashbacks of the better times. When I moved into my first post-college apartment, her house was on my way home and I would often stop and visit with her and her dog. With no blood relations in her life that acted like family and no partner, her colleagues, former students and friends were her family.
By the time her MS symptoms were starting to worsen, I had moved across the country and could be little help aside from correspondence and prayers. I would send her photos of my travels and we would trade stories about our dogs. Oh the countless times I threw the ball for her dog on those nights I stopped by her house. One of the many things I will remember most is the love she had for her dogs.
I can't imagine what it is like to be at the end of your path, especially with no children or partner to be by your side. Several former co-workers have taken turns sitting by her bedside, making sure that someone is with her until the end. I selfishly wonder if my own solitude of now will also be my solitude in death. The thought keeps me up at night.
I hope that peace comes soon for you Shelley. Your kindness and strength have shown through to the end, but that is just a fraction of the legacy you will leave behind.
I wish I had stopped by on my way home more often.