Fall, 1988, Lizzie, before the ravages of illness, with her little Jonny, born in March.
Jan., 1995, the “Friendship Quilt” made in three weeks by a gang of Lizzie’s new friends in Huntington, IN. She had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, had had one chemo treatment, and her dear new friends wanted her to sleep with a token of their love.
Jan., 1996, Lizzie’s heart failed as a result of the cancer treatments. She was unable to live at home, needing IV medicines to keep her heart functioning minimally. When surgery to implant an assist device could not be undertaken, Lizzie’s friends from her days as a young mother in New York came to say a final goodbye. Jeannie, left, came from Texas; Mimi, from Tennessee.
Middle son Andrew, then 17, me, and Lizzie’s youngest sister Mary, who had left her job as a children’s book editor in New Mexico to help us all in Indiana.
March 1996. Lizzie had been sent home to die on February 5, with portable IV pumps that she wore day and night. On March 8, she was still alive, had made a cake for Jonny’s 8th birthday, and was getting set to party – best she could.
“Spider web”, a game that our kids loved to play at their birthday parties when young, had to be set up in 1996 by Lizzie’s sister Ann. Lizzie’s strength didn’t permit more than looking any more, but she wanted to soak up every precious moment of what was likely to be her last spider web.
April, 1996. With Lizzie still alive, we pleaded with her doctors to list her for a transplant. On April 17,1996, we headed off to the hospital for a three day evaluation – but with no promises.
May 1996. With Lizzie weakening in the hospital, awaiting a heart transplant, oldest son Nick, borrowed a friend’s car and drove down to the hospital -10 hours away – to visit mom and bring his girlfriend, Sydney, whom he married in 2000.
June 1996, the week before Lizzie’s heart transplant. She has decorated her IV pole for the Fourth of July. Mary and youngest son Jonny visit her at the hospital. Mommy, somehow, has presents tucked away to bribe Jonny to come back.
June 1996, post transplant. Lizzie’s mom and I check in on our hero.