Sadly, the beginning of the year revolved around the terrible sickness and subsequent death of my dear friend of more than 50 years, Ann. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last June and spent the last ten months of her life in unrelenting pain. We talked or emailed nearly every day of that time, and I felt privileged to witness her upbeat attitude and real courage in the face of certain death.
Now that a bit of time has passed and going forward, I will remember my friend Ann as she was before her illness - full of fun, sassy and irreverent, while being one of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever known. For the past decade, she served as a hospital chaplain and touched the lives of many families going through very difficult challenges, but she always brought hope and humor to everyone she encountered.
My favorite memory with Ann was the trip we took together to Tuscany in 2010. It was a cooking school trip, and we learned to make pasta in the farmhouses of Tuscan families, drank wine produced from their vineyards, saw cheese being made from their sheep's milk and visited quaint villages in the Italian countryside. Lots of fun and we ended the trip with a memorable few days spent in Rome, where we stayed in a lovely hotel very close to the Vatican.
I'll always be grateful to have had such a wonderful friend. We counted on each other for support and advice, laughed together over the absurdities of life, knew everything about each other's families, shared goals and dreams and really cared about each other. I will miss her every day, while being grateful for the gift of such a lovely friend.
May you rest in peace, my dear friend.