Well Damn Sam!

I don’t even know how to begin this post, so I guess I’ll just start writing. As some people probably know, last year, I went to guide dog school. I don’t know what it is about spending a few weeks with your classmates and it being a small class of 4, but you get pretty attached to them. In that class was a lady in her 70’s. She was hillarious! She seemed like your typical grandmother who would never swear, who was very meek and mild and quiet. Then she’d whip out gems to surprise you, like the day we were talking about a girl a couple of us happened to know who, well, got around and had a lot of babies, and the lady said, “She should learn to cross her legs!” I hadn’t laughed that hard in forever. She had the funniest expressions. Where some people might say “Holy crap!” or “Jesus Christ!” she’d say, “Jeepers twist!” If something went wrong, all she’d say was “Damn Sam!” She always wanted to visit, and always had time to sit and shoot the breeze. You could tell she loved her dog, and would do anything for her.

A few months ago, I found out that she had pancreatic cancer, and it was taking its toll on her. I would try and give her a call every few weeks to see how she was doing, but sometimes life got in the way. Ever since I heard the news, I was bracing myself for the worst, but you’re never prepared for it.

Yesterday, I thought I’d give her another call. I was a little worried when the answering machine just had her husband’s name on it. But I’d never gotten her answering machine before so I thought maybe that was just the way it was. When he returned my call, I got the news I never wanted to hear. It turns out that, not only did she lose her battle with cancer, but it happened in May! He had no way to get a hold of me, or any of the other classmates, to tell us what happened because she had all her friends’ numbers memorized.

I guess they were shooting her full of chemo and radiation, and it wasn’t doing a damn bit of good, only making her feel absolutely miserable. At her age, I wonder why they’d put her body through such an aggressive treatment. But maybe she decided to fight to the death. Then they put her on morphine and she had to go into the hospital, and I guess that was the end. Weirdly enough, her retired guide dog died six days before she did.

He said they had a nice service for her and there was a big turnout. If only I could have been there! But I’m glad lots of people could come. She was loved by a lot of people, and we’ll miss her. But at least she’s not suffering anymore. I remember, in one of the last conversations I had with her, she said, “Cancer’s a bitch!” At least now she can rest in peace.

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