R.I.P. Gladys

Gladys passed away on 9th December in the night. Her cancer had mestasized to other parts of her body, particularly her back and legs. I’d been sending her money for the chemo and she seemed to be doing as well as expected, but seeing as I couldn’t really see her, I may not know how badly off she was.

That week she had spoken to my roommate asking for money for another round of treatment so we sent it and assumed she got the treatment as usual; but on Friday night her sister called and said she had succumbed. Partly due to the doctor’s strike, there wasn’t anyone to take care of her and administer the drugs.

I’m not sure I have fully accepted it but a part of me was prepared for this eventuality. I’m sad that she’s gone but am praying that she is in a better place. The thought of her suffering come to an end is such a comfort. I’m sad because she was so good at her job, she was so responsible and trustworthy. Trust me, after she got sick I fully understood just how valuable and irreplaceable she was. I have had to deal with money-hungry, thieving and irresponsible workers since, just trying to replace her, but there won’t ever be another Gladys.

I’m mad too, at the Kenyan medical services system. The public health system is nothing to write home about, the private healthcare is unaffordable. I keep wishing I had known what a joke public hospitals were, I would have saved from the onset and fundraised to have her taken to a private doctor. It would have saved so much time waiting for free clinic doctors to show up, queuing for services, waiting months for results to come out…all that time would have been time the cancer wouldn’t have had to spread.

Then I’m shocked, that a disease can finish someone in a span of less than a year. It spread so fast, so ruthlessly. Early detection saves lives isn’t just a marketing gimmick or a cool catch phrase for cancer awareness drives. It’s the truth. It’s never hit home as much as during this whole period.

All in all, I must accept that this is the reality. This is cancer, this is the brevity of life, this is another life gone too soon. Maybe God had a plan in all this. I have to stop myself from saying I wish and if only. I just trust that God had and still has a plan in all this.

Finally I thank everyone again who gave towards Gladys’ treatment. I wish I could mention you all by name but God knows and you made a difference. Don’t lose heart because she’s gone. She was so grateful and she told me so many times.

May God bless you all and richly reward you…and remember early detection does save lives. It’s not just a cliche, it’s true.

Happy Holidays.

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