Doctor, Doctor

We sang together in a wedding band.  She and her husband, me and my husband. They eventually split, and we “got” Ann in the divorce.  She joined us at our church, sang with us in the choir, and was my closest confidant.

We met for lunch one day in 1985. She listened while I kvetched. “Change, or quichyerbichin!”  Ann was never one to mince words, and she certainly didn’t mince any when she made it clear she was sick of listening to me complain about how unhappy I was–about my job, my life and my circumstances. Working nights at the post office, and hating every minute of it, I complained to her and she was my sounding board.  “I hate this–I hate working nights…I hate being treated like a drone….I hate the boring repetition….”  And she said….  “Change….”   And change I did.

I went to junior college, and then college, and then medical school.  She was also going to school to complete her doctorate in education, and so it became a joke between us. “Hello Doctor, Doctor,” she would say, referring to the time when we would both be titled “Doctor.”  But only one of us would achieve it.

She had to stop taking classes due to family problems, and I finished first, receiving my medical degree in 1993.  “Hello, Doctor, Doctor..” she called one day, and then started telling me about her recent diagnosis of liver failure. “Hello, Doctor, Doctor…” she said, and told me about how she was on the transplant list.   “Hello Doctor, Doctor,” she said when she called to say goodbye, knowing that she was dying.

She told me she was happy to know she would be meeting her Lord, and that she was ready to go. She thanked me for leading her to the church in which she had found family and friendship, and which she served faithfully to the day she died. She died at Thanksgiving in 2001–no donor was found in time–at the age of fifty-two. I often think of  something she would have found amusing, or a song we sang together, and pick up the phone to tell her….then remember she is gone.  Matt. 5:4:  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

My pangs of sadness are always more frequent around this time of year, but they are eased by the memories of the good times we shared, the thanks I have that she motivated me out of my self-pity and into a rewarding career, and by her knowledge that her Savior was waiting for her. Welcome home, Doctor, Doctor.