A friend Evelyn died recently and today they had a memorial service for her. She had a home in New York and Colorado but had a modest house on a lake in Fahnstock, Putnam County, about a half hour from the farm. She and her husband spent many wonderful times there. She was a great photographer along with many other talents.
About 15 years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was cured with the help of some extraordinary doctors. As a result she started the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has been at the forefront of breast cancer research worldwide. The foundation supports 175 doctors and scientists and their work has produced enormous strides towards a cure of the disease.
Two years ago Evelyn, totally unrelated to her breast cancer, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she knew early on that this was one battle she could not win. A Doctor from Memorial Sloane Kettering, Larry Norton spoke today at the service and said something that I thought resonated. He spoke of kindness and courage. Evelyn showed enormous kindness to anyone who was afflicted with breast cancer or any other disease, personal kindness which comes from the red blood of the heart not from the gray cells of the brain. She would involve herself in the other person’s pains and concerns.
The courage came to her personally in enormous measure when she herself was facing the inevitable.
She wrote a poem entitled “The Day I Found Out” which I have posted below.
SHOCK WAVES, COLD FEAR IN THE PIT OF THE BODY
PRIORITY PLANNING, PROJECTS TO FINISH, WHO NOT TO TELL
SHOCK WAVES WIDENING, SPREADING AS FEAR AS THE HORIZON
SPLASHING UP AND DOWN WITH WIDENING CIRCLES
SHOCK WAVES BOUNCING INTO THE FAR REACHES OF KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS
SHOCK WAVES ASKING CIRCLES OF QUESTIONS
HOW FAR, HOW LONG,HOW GOOD, HOW BAD
HOW LONG? HOW LONG?
SHOCK WAVES OF PAIN, NOT FOR ME, BUT FOR THE LOVES OF MY LIFE
SHOCK WAVES, WILL YOU GO AWAY?
SHOCK WAVES TOO SOON, TOO SOON
Evelyn’s photograph “Can Spring be Far Behind,” Winter 2011