Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Early this past Saturday morning, my friend/co-worker Frances lost her valiant battle with breast cancer that had metastasized to the bone. She fought long and hard for more than 3 1/2 years. She defied the odds.

In October 2007 the doctors gave Frances 3 to 6 months. One year later and she was still battling the oppressive cancer that was eating its way through her body. She could no longer live by herself and reluctantly agreed to go into hospice. The hospice center gave her 1 to 3 weeks. Well, she beat those odds as well.

On December 31, 2008 we received a call that Frances probably would not make it through the day. A few of us made the trip to hospice to say our good-byes to Frances. While there, the hospice nurse came in and said that Frances probably had 1 to 2 days left. Frances was a wonderful, stubborn woman. When did she ever listen to anybody who was trying to put a timeframe on her life? She made it for more than a week, but finally - in the very early hours of Saturday morning - passed from this world.

I don't think I can - even as a writer - truly describe Frances. She was one of the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life and had a vibrant, almost effervescent - those are the sparkly, fizzy things in 7-Up - personality. She greeted each day with joy. Nobody, not nobody, could say 'good morning' like Frances. No matter what my mood might be when I came into work, a good morning from her cheered me up. When the cancer began to take its toll, and the pain as well, she stopped saying good morning. Still, on the rare days that she did say good morning, we knew it was a good day for her, even if her good mornings were not as exuberant as before. I picture her now, in Heaven, strolling around and giving her most exuberant, vivacious, and vibrant good morning to every soul up there. She was just that kind of woman. It might take her centuries to get all her good mornings taken care of, and then she'll have to start with the new entrants, but she'll keep on saying good morning.

We lost a part of ourselves at my workplace when Frances left us. We're a small company, more a family than a group of co-workers. Her absence has been felt everyday since October 2007 when the cancer became too much for her and she could no longer come in to work everyday. Frances loved coming in to work. The loss is even greater now because we know she is not a phone call, visit, or email away from us. Still, we were lucky to have her as part of our lives.