Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lauren Ryan

I walked into the hospital room and locked eyes with Lauren. Neither of us changed the expression on our faces as I walked up to her, sat on her bed, and held her head with my hands. We stared into each others eyes with tears streaming down both of our faces. “What can I do Lauren?” I asked in vain. “You’re doing it”, she said in a soft whisper.  She wasn’t crying because she knew she was going to die soon, nor was it a result of the chronic intolerable pain that she had endured for weeks…years really. She was crying out of despair for knowing that she was going to have to leave her babies.  You can never make that ok, there are no words.

Lauren was a fighter, and as long as she had a weapon in her arsenal, she could focus on the victory dance. No matter how bad her scans were, we would work out a plausible scenario for keeping her alive long enough to try that next best drug.  She knew the odds were against her, but she could cling to the hope of being in that 8% like none other.  Lauren was such a fighter that she turned an invisible cancer into a living breathing opponent that she could actually take a swing at.  Everybody saw angiosarcoma for the first time, and all because of her.

She either didn’t fully comprehend, or was too humble to dwell on the fact that she transformed so many peoples lives. But with the help of everyone in our support group, she got it, completely, and when it mattered most. This is not the story of someone who died in obscurity only to be recognized years later for their greatness, this is the story of a legend who comprehended the magnitude of their life days before leaving this world. She smiled knowing that her babies would one day read all of the heartfelt testaments to her. She smiled because she knew that even in death, she could be a positive influence in their lives.

I held Lauren and we cried until we both smiled. We didn’t need words any more, I dried her eyes, and then I dried my own. The next morning, I blew kisses to her and she blew them right back. “I’ll see you next week my love” were my last words to her, “I love you” were her last words to me. 

We have some work to do friends, we need to finish this for her.