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52 Years, 2 Months, 3 Days July 5, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Cheryl died this morning. She had cancer. She had been married one week.

I worked with Cheryl at a medical association in Washington, DC. I was an editor; she was in accounting. Our desks were on the same floor of the building.

“KaffFLEEEEN!” she would yell at me when we passed one another, a push on the second syllable. She could make a gal laugh when a gal needed to.

When I became a freelancer and did jobs for that association, Cheryl would call me when she cut the check, to say hello and to tell me that money was on its way. She’d give me the dirt on everyone I still knew there.

She told me that I’d really like the most recent woman to hold my job, another Kathleen.

And I do. I’ve never met Kathleen in person, but she’s a delight to work with, and we have Cheryl in common. Only this Kathleen became Cheryl’s best friend and has been there for her throughout this horrible illness.

I thought Cheryl was getting better—likely because I wasn’t hearing that much. A few months ago, she got engaged to her longtime girlfriend, and the wedding was set for June 29. On June 28—last Friday—Kathleen posted two pretty homemade bouquets on Facebook. I commented happily, but then received a private note back: “Wedding cancelled; Cheryl is in the hospital. They are getting married at her bedside this afternoon, hence the artificial flowers (no real ones allowed on the onc ward). Please keep her in your prayers.”

And that was the first that I realized that things were much, much worse.

Cheryl and Kristine married on Friday. I am so happy and grateful and glad that they had that. I’ve never met Kristine. For years, Cheryl would threaten to haul Kristine up to Vermont for a visit, maybe even to attend the nearby fly-fishing school. All of us want to do things that never get done.

Kathleen was Cheryl’s maid of honor/best woman. There was a beautiful cake and something bubbly. There was love everywhere.

On Tuesday, I got a message from Kathleen that she thought Cheryl would leave us that day. When that didn’t happen, I had a hunch it would be July 5. Today is the first anniversary of Derek’s death. Now it is also the day that we mortals lost Cheryl.

My 365-project friends might remember my 44-word Cheryl entry, written more than seven years ago:

She is a Pluto girl, not Goofy. Do not confuse the two. Do not go to Disney World and get her Goofy, who is a lot easier to find. It will just piss her off. And don’t even get her started on George Bush.

I am among the many who loved Cheryl. And Cheryl died this morning. She had cancer. She had been married one week.

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Comments»

1. Daniel - July 5, 2013

I hate it when you bring tears to my eyes. Wonderful tribute.

2. Kathleen Scogna - July 5, 2013

Thank you for writing this and for letting me know about it. Pluto girl–yep. And now we have to go on without her, at least for a while until we see her again. I am going to miss her so much.

3. Mali - July 6, 2013

Well, I didn’t even know Cheryl, but you brought tears to my eyes too. I am so sorry you lost your friend.

4. lhertzel - July 6, 2013

so young. so hard. i’m so sorry. she was almost precisely the age my sister was when cancer took her, too. i’m so very sorry.

5. Eulalia Benejam Cobb - July 6, 2013

Such a sad story. I am sorry that you lost her so early.

6. Helen - July 8, 2013

Oh, I’m also very sorry Indigo…warm hugs…

7. aslowhite - July 12, 2013

Boy, does that suck.

8. Dona - July 24, 2013

So sad. Sorry you and the world lost Cheryl.


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