Friday, October 1, 2010

"Be Someone's Paula"

Sister-in-law’s legacy was to inspire others by Kate Jackson, for the Patriot Ledger

"Small stones engraved with the phrases “Never Give Up” and “Strength” are scattered on the sill of the bay window that overlooks her garden. Her wildflowers bloomed early this year, and it seems as though the season hurried just so she could see them one last time. Everything seems hurried, though, as my sister-in-law Paula lies dying in the next room, given two weeks to live at age 48.

Her husband and two daughters take turns holding her hands. Her oldest sits on the floor next to her bed, asking questions and writing down the answers for the days ahead when she’ll crave her mother’s advice (and cooking): “How do you make your pasta sauce?” “What do I do if I fall in love with someone who treats me poorly?” Paula, a natural teacher, answers every last one. Each day she perseveres, even as ovarian cancer ravages her insides."