Jul 19, 2009
My sister-in-law passed away last night of Lymphoma. Her name was Connie and she was only 56 years old.
Her and my brother married over 20 years ago and never had kids of their own. My brother helped raise her 2 children from a previous marriage as if they were his own. And, when the grandchildren came, he was their ever indulgent and loving "Popa". Connie of course was also the loving and dedicated "Moma" as the kids called her.
Connie was one of the casualties of our healthcare system. Neither her or my brother have health insurance as their companies were small and weren't required to have it. She actually had to stop working 2 years ago because she was having problems breathing and was told it was asthma and bronchitis. Since her income was gone, she didn't want to be a burden by going to the doctor. Well, 4 moths ago she had to be taken to the ER by ambulance because her lungs collapsed. Testing came back showing she had a large tumor in her chest that was the cause of the breathing problems. They tried chemo, but the disease had progressed already to a point that there was not much more they could do. She died in hospice after learning of this disease only 3 months ago.
I talked to her a month ago and recall how positive she was that she would beat this. We were all hopeful for her, but we knew what the doctors were saying and it didn't look good not even then. My brother is distraught. He is being helped by my older brother whose wife also died of Crohn's Disease 5 years ago. The two have developed a bond they never had all these years.
As for Connie, I am so sad that although she'd been married to my brother so many years, I never really knew her that well other than John's wife. None of us really were introduced to her family and thought they just didn't have a good relation with each other and kept their distance. But now I'm learning how untrue that assumption was. She has a very loving set of sisters who stepped in to take care of her when things were at their worst. I will probably learn more about you now from those sisters who I now have contact with than I ever knew all these years.
I've had an epiphany of sorts since all this has happened. I have relatives that I don't even know other than their names. I am going to make my best effort to reach out to them and get to know them before it is too late. It is sad to imagine that I don't even know my mother's brother's family. There is no excuse for it other than laziness or not caring or whatever. IF I don't do anything else, I'll reach out to them and get to know more about them than just their names. I think this is something we can all do or at least attempt to do within our own families.