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A goodbye: Be stewards, and be kind

In late October I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and told I have only a few months to live. Since then, I’ve been receiving palliative care at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. What I realized immediately was how grateful I am for the life I’ve lived and how curious I am about this next part of my adventure.

One of the reasons for this charmed life I’ve been blessed with is that I shared it with a good man. My husband, Jerry, practiced medicine at SHMC for many years, serving on various committees and boards. The hospital included spouses in training sessions.

I was always impressed with the hospital’s doctors’ sincere dedication and efforts to discover and do the right thing for patients. Now, as a patient, I feel my admiration was too modest. Drs. Dan Dionne, Dean Martz, Gary Van Huevelen, Peter Schegal and Benjamin Ling have been phenomenal, kind, highly skilled and always willing to educate. All I can say about the nurses and techs is that they are simply angels. I have been fortunate to benefit from Sacred Heart’s state-of-the-art medical technology and computer systems, which allow for seamless tracking and coordination of care, which they boldly pioneered.

Now, you may take me for just a sentimental old lady after saying those nice things. Well, you are wrong. There is not a Pollyanna bone in my body, as those who know me will affirm.

I grew up on a hard, gritty farm in Oregon and know all about the dark side of man and nature. I want to tell you, lately I’ve been very disappointed in “us,” as I watch us move ever further away from one another in bigger and bigger refinanced houses filled with stuff. It pains me to see us disregard the poor, quality education and our deteriorating infrastructure. Sorry, Newt (Gingrich), but most of the 99 percent have been taking baths, going to work every day and making less than they did 14 years ago, while graduates from our most prestigious universities head to Wall Street and Washington to play some foolish games that wreak havoc on our economy.

Nevertheless, during these past months my love and hope for the innate goodness of our country has been deepened as I see generous and skillful delivery of services, exceptional parenting, increasing concern for our Earth, unbelievable kindness of strangers and the richness that ethnic diversity has brought to America. So I ask that you take care of this beautiful place we call home, be kind to one another, and thanks for sharing it with me.


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