She had end stage liver disease, brought on by blood given during here 8 surgeries for Crohn's disease. She got Hep C from one of them before blood supplies were checked for it.
Together we explored the terrible non-system that is American health care. We found fraudulent and just ignorant and petulant doctors, lying insurance companies, and a good bankruptcy lawyer that got us free of more than a quarter million dollars in medical bills in a hearing that took less than a minute...it was held in an old movie theater in order to accommodate all those seeking financial relief - over 95% from medical bills.
She stood up and took care of me when I had several heart attacks and bypass surgery in 2003, and we knew the scorn of people getting food stamps while I was recovering for over 6 months from that surgery. We bought a house. We paid it off, and I still live here with my 3 dogs.
We had hard time and beautiful joyous days.
I retired on the first possible day I could do so with a tiny pension to take care of her and just spend time with her. She had occasional delusions and terrifying hallucinations. We could not afford nursing care at home, and made too much money to get it free. She was told she had 5 years to live when her liver disease was diagnosed. Together, we got her through nearly 12 more years.
She was a singer and guitar player, a tough, tiny Jewish woman who graduated from Widener University with high honors, the second of 3 generations of women in her family earning such honors. She was a social worker. When we met, she had 3 part time jobs between "real" jobs. We met in September, married the following March, had nearly 20 years together.
I spent the day at home with my dogs, fooling with my guitars and sleeping a lot...a gloomy and odd day, with a bog storm coming overnight tonight.
She died here at home in her sleep after a quiet day, with hours spent in her garden, her favorite place on earth.
She was 55.
Good night, sweetie.