"...you don't die at 13!"
Jan Sherer, Academic Coach
When I was 12 years old, my best friend Jeanie moved from Nashville, TN to Orlando. We were devastated, because like most 12 years old, it was the end of the word. Best friends torn apart by uncaring parents. We knew we would never see each other again – oh the drama. But little did we know that for us, this would be true. You see, back in the late 70’s, you didn’t have the Internet, or cell phones, and to call long distance was just something you didn’t do…unless it was an emergency. We wrote some letters, but again, most 12 years old aren’t necessarily good at that, and so letters became fewer and fewer, and we developed new friendships, and life went on – for me, anyway – Jeanie, in the meantime, had developed Leukemia and started fighting for her life. I don’t remember anyone telling me just how sick she actually was, but I do remember the 4a.m. phone call from her family, telling us that she had passed away. She was thirteen. I couldn’t believe it. You don’t die at thirteen. A few weeks later, I received a teddy bear that had been Jeanie’s, with a note from her parents, telling me that Jeanie wanted her best friend to have it to remember her by. I was so happy to receive this gift from her, and over the years, I would see it on the bed and think of my dear friend, and how caring she was. Twenty years later, I moved to Orlando with my family and every once in a while, I would see her parents and talk with them. I know I reminded them of Jeanie, and sometimes it made me feel bad, but then we would talk about her, and then we would laugh, and enjoy our memories of her. Unfortunately, her father developed cancer a little while later, and his prognosis was not good. I went to see him in the hospital, and I wanted to share something special with him…I took Jeanie’s teddy bear to him. The look on his face was so happy, as he held the teddy bear and talked about Jeanie, and how this had been her teddy bear. I left it with him, happy to know that Jeanie was still sharing her gift of love. So, my Philosophy of Healthcare? Never hesitate to show that you have compassion for or care for someone. It’s a gift that can be shared over and over again. Just like Jeanie’s teddy bear.
Updated: November 4, 2010 - 12:15pm - by Yvette Saliba