Carole was a Graduate Assistant (GA) that had worked for me for the past nine months. I was the director of student activities at a small liberal arts college and she was one of two GAs that helped to provide various activities and events for the undergraduate students. Together we had worked with student leaders putting to together leadership retreat, advising student groups, and coordinating events. We met weekly and saw each other almost daily. And, while I wouldn’t have said that we were great friends, we got along well. I liked her. She was an unexpected mix between a truly, compassionate, thoughtful, fiercely religious woman, with a fun streak of rebel rocker. She was a great role model for the students and fun to be around.
As with many of us, as the academic year was winding down, she was wiped out. Furthermore, she couldn’t seem to shake a flu bug that had been hanging on for a month or so. Weeks earlier, she had gone to see her doctor, who had suggested that, she had mono and began to treat her for it. Since this meant that she was going to have to slow down, she let me know about the diagnosis. As she told me about her symptoms, I remember thinking “is that what is wrong with me?” We figured out what to do to reduce some of her stress – including extending a deadline for turning in her project notebooks and having others cover some of her events. And, after a few days, with lots of sleep, and less stress, while she was not 100%, she seemed to be on the mend. She was excited about an upcoming trip to Ireland and was glad the year was slowly coming to an end.
A voice inside my head screamed, "What?!!?? No! That can’t be true!" Deep down, I knew – I knew that something terrible was happening. Beth was never one to overreact. She had been there, helping while the rescue squad arrived. She followed the ambulance to the hospital. She had talked to the doctors. She was trying to let me know – but I wasn’t ready to hear, that while I was sleeping, when I should have been at work, someone I knew, someone I saw all the time, someone who was only twenty three years old, was barely clinging to life. I was too shocked to face it.
To be continued...
Today I am participating in Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Shell at Things I Can't Say.
*names have been changed.