Tears On My Pillow

Hey, everybody. I had intended to update my blog yesterday by writing about the fabulous time I had on Peaks Island in Maine last weekend. Rich and I had lots of fun visiting with my childhood best-friend, Missy (and her hubby and kids), and then took the ferry back to the mainland to play tourist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Everything was wonderful…until I got back to work yesterday.

Some of you may recall that I’d written about my friend, Regina, over the past 6 months or so. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last May – just seven months after her mother died from the very same thing. Anyway, I didn’t write too much about her here because some co-workers read my blog and I wasn’t sure how much information Regina wanted me to share.

Anyway, she spent the entire summer dealing with chemo treatments every two weeks. Then she had a masectomy in the early fall, followed by agressive radiation. During radiation, they discovered two tumors in her brain. Since then, things have gotten progressively worse. The brain tumors have grown and the cancer has spread to her lungs. She’s currently dealing with a staph infection, viral pneumonia, lung cancer and brain tumors – meanwhile her lungs keep filling up with fluid.

A few weeks ago she asked me to be Power of Attorney and Executor of her will. I met with the attorney last week and signed the papers. In my head, of course, I kept thinking (wishing) that this was just a precaution. At the time, she was being transfered from a hospital to a rehabilitation facility (what we all thought was a sign of improvement). Unfortunately, reality is a lot harsher than you’d expect.

When I got back to work on Tuesday after my holiday weekend, I came in to frantic voicemails and emails that Regina had nearly died on Sunday night. She fortunately pulled through, but now it’s pretty clear that she’s not going to make it. The hospital is saying it’s a matter of days…if that.

So yesterday, I went to the hospital for the first time for a non-social visit. Normally, I’ve visited her there and tried to lift her spirits. In fact, after her mother died and after she was diagnosed with cancer herself, she thanked me for not responding the way everybody else had, with the “I’m so sorry” head tilts and tears. She said she enjoyed my visits and talks because I’d talk about everything but the cancer. But yesterday, I actually had to go in there and talk to her about the absolute worst things: burial, estate planning and memorial wishes. It was awful.

You see, Regina and I were really close. Before her disability, she and I had lunch together nearly every single day for 4 years. We told each other everything. On 9/11, she was the person that who called me, in tears, telling me that our country was under attack. When my relationship with Matt was on the skids, she was the person I came to for support. When I bought my first condo and was stressed beyond belief, she was there to make me feel it would all go smoothly. It got to the point that if people saw me in the cafeteria without her, their first question would always be “Where’s Regina?”. We went to every work party or meeting together. We worked a conference together. We were inseperable.

Last night, after discussing those serious legal/mortality issues, I was in bed and couldn’t sleep. I was lying there on my side and reminiscing about the fun we’d had the past few years. Before I knew it, my tears had created a fairly large wet spot on my pillow under my upper cheek and forehead.

Life just sucks.


  1. Comment by David on February 23, 2005 11:56 am

    Karl baby, it can suck, but what a testiment to your friendship with Regina.
    I’m sure she wouldn’t have burdened you with this responsibilty if she didn’t know you’d handle it the very way she wanted.
    You grew because of each other and you’ll always have that. If unfortunately, you have to put her plans into action, you are going to have one hell of a guardian angel. Don’t you think?

  2. Comment by Will on February 23, 2005 2:16 pm

    Karl, Regina couldn’t have a better support of caretaker of her Estate than you. I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but stay together for her. You’re a true friend to the end–only it’s unfair and immensely sad the end had to come so fast.

  3. Comment by Thom on February 23, 2005 5:21 pm

    Karl, I’m so sorry about your friend, but as everyone else has said, it’s so fortunate that she has you to depend on.

  4. Comment by jeff on February 23, 2005 7:43 pm

    Karl – I’m sorry – I hope you’re hanging in there – and she is truly lucky to have a friend like you helping her.

  5. Comment by Jay on February 24, 2005 12:23 pm

    As cliche and cheesy as it sounds, I have no doubt that you are each other’s angels. Watch over her last hours on Earth, and I’m sure she’ll be watching over you soon.

  6. Comment by Miki on February 25, 2005 9:08 pm

    Hi, Karl. Very sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like you two were very, very close, and that it’s great that she has such a good, caring friend as you. All the best.

  7. Comment by Erica on February 28, 2005 6:11 pm

    Yeah. I wish I’d had as many years as her friend as you’ve had… and I’m not quite ready to give up hope for that, either. I guess being prepared will make youi ready for anything.

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