sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,
sturgeonslawyer
sturgeonslawyer

F*** Cancer

Amy died yesterday.

No, wait. Let me walk back a bit.

In my adult life, I have been blessed with a good circle of friends, including four or five - outside of family - I know I can count on for, like, anything (and vice versa). This is as much as anyone needs and far more than I deserve.

Amy was one of them.

The child of a judge who grew up in Fresno, ran away to the University of San Francisco, on to law school, and eventually found her niche as chief counsel for Cal-OSHA (in charge of enforcing safety regulations on employers: her cases over the years included Chevron, Disney, and "The Porn Industry," which latter meant that for a while she was legitimately watching porn on the State's dollar).

When I met her, almost seventeen years ago, she was working as the in-house attorney for a startup that would soon stopdown. She did eventually get most of her back pay.

She was introduced to our gaming group by my friend Jon, a techgeek who worked in the same company. She and I hit it off immediately, with common interests in politics, religion, and the aaahts, and quickly became - well, the word "best friend" is too vague: I have, as I said above, four or five people who might deserve that name. But she became someone I relied on in a lot of ways, and I believe she did on me (and my family) also. She was a regular member of our gaming group the rest of her life, and often came over to our house for coffee on weekend mornings.

I, as well as several other people including Fr. John, were instrumental in her decision to return to the Catholic Church as an adult - as, a year later, they were in my decision to be confirmed in said Church. She always had doubts, as do I, but real faith involves living with questions and doubts.

That game group, at that time, included not only Fr. John, but another Catholic seminarian, a Methodist minister, and the aforementioned Jon, who had completed seminary as an Evangelical minister, though he had not been "called" to any parish. One of my happiest memories is the night all these clergy were singing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of the Gilligan's Island themesong in my livingroom.

She and I conceived and co-GM'd the most complex, and I believe the best, FRP game world I've ever been involved in as player or GM. It was called "TFAR," which stood for "The Fundamentalists Are Right" - the idea behind that title being that FRP'ing - as well as many other things, like Tarot cards, Kabbalah, and - reading tealeaves - really were Satan's Open-Sesame, that magick was real in the world, and that doing it slowly sucked out your soul. It was set in the 1980s, with a detour to the 1930s; it ended, too soon, after it became clear that the players couldn't keep up with all the complexity due to long breaks between games.

I have never known anyone more dedicated to their dog.

Two years ago, she started having weird pains and discomforts "down there." Several months later, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had her "ladyparts" removed, followed by radiation and chemo. But it was too late; the cancer receded, but then it came back, metastasized to - among other places -her diaphragm, which is pretty much inoperable.

I saw her only three times in the last month.

The first time was when she called me at work to ask for some Ibuprofen. I made a stop on the way home to get it, and brought it to her. We chatted a while. She seemed no sicker than before.

The second time was when she invited the game group (she had not attended in several weeks) to her house for a Friday evening. She was much worse now, spent the evening lying on the couch and occasionally taking part in the conversation (no game was played). That was about two weeks ago.

Then this Saturday morning I got a call telling me that, if I wanted to see her, I should get there by 11, because she was being medevacked to Fresno to receive palliative care in her sister's home. I, and family, went. I sat in a chair beside her and said things that I immediatly found embarrassing; I have no idea how to talk to the dying.

She was semiconscious at best, and the only coherent thing she said while I was there was, "It hurts." We left after a while, to make room for others, and that was that.

Yesterday morning, she died in Fresno. I will miss her for a long time. I see things and think, "Amy would like that." And she would.
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