Someone who changed my outlook on a lot of things passed away recently. Her name was Miriam, and she died of breast cancer--not because she didn't check, she got mammograms regularly—but because for some reason, she was never told she had a tumor.
I remember driving up to her home on that late spring morning, my heart pounding, not sure of what to say. She was among a dozen women listed as victims in a criminal suit filed against the hospital's radiology technician and my last hope of getting an interview.
The door opened and there stood this freckled faced woman with the most inviting smile. She welcomed me in, sat me down on the couch and offered me sweet tea.
"How do you feel?" I asked my first question of the interview.
"I'm blessed," she said, the wrinkles around her eyes deepening.
"You see, I have angels all around me," she said, showing the silver figurines dangling from her bracelet.
"Are you worried about the future?" I asked uncomfortably.
"No, I have a lot of living left to do," she said, motioning toward her husband.
Even at 61 years old, they had that nervous butterfly kind of love.
Miriam didn't blame anyone for losing valuable time that could have been used getting treatment. She knew the end was out of her control and focused on living instead.
We didn't stay in touch after I wrapped up my story, but she would cross my mind often over the next couple of years. Did she ever take that cross country motorcycle ride with her husband? Was she spending time with her grand kids? Would she be called as a witness at trial?
A few weeks ago, I saw a posting on Facebook – the cancer had spread too far. Her online obituary confirmed it – Miriam is gone. But her zest for life left a huge impression -- on her family, friends and even a reporter, fortunate their paths crossed even for a few short minutes.