GetWhatYouNeed

My wife's friend JM died at the end of January. She was 45, and for the past year she knew that the end was in sight. Half a decade earlier she had a melanoma removed; the cancer came back, again and again, and finally it killed her.

JM lived a good life. She was a happy person with a delightfully wicked sense of humor. She served on the county Library Advisory Board with my wife, and the two of them had a way of setting each other off, triggering mutual fits of giggling in response to the more ridiculous bureaucratic posturings at the meetings --- so much so that they had to consciously avoid looking at one another during certain critical moments, lest they both crack up. JM kept working until the last few months of her life, and continued her volunteer activities. But she also made time for music (especially live concerts), for visits with friends, and for a bit of traveling. She spent her days well.

JM had cerebral palsy, which slowed her walk and slurred her speech --- a major handicap in telling jokes, which she nevertheless loved to do. In planning her memorial service a few months ago, JM began by asking for the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" --- thoroughly appropriate and fitting to her personality, but (as she well knew!) not something that her family was quite ready to go along with. So JM accepted "Amazing Grace" and the "Ode to Joy" chorale from Beethoven's Ninth. She didn't get what she wanted, but she got what she needed: a peaceful end, a joyous funeral service, and a host of friends who will always remember her.

Tuesday, February 08, 2000 at 05:48:35 (EST) = Datetag20000208

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