And how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn't you say?
— Kirk, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
I debated long and hard about whether or not to post this here. As a general rule, I try to avoid putting personal things into my blog.
On Sunday, my friend Theresa passed away after a long hard struggle with illness the past week.
To say Theresa had character would be an understatement. She was full of character. She was tough as nails and didn't take crap from anybody. She'd dish it out as good as she got and then some. You always knew where you stood with her though. If she thought something was dumb or didn't make sense, you knew it too. If she was feeling good, her smile, attitude and sense of humour would light up a room.
I've known her long enough that I don't remember exactly how or precisely when we met. I'm pretty sure it was at one of the occasional lunch gatherings organized in the ITC chat room (where some of the computer geeks at work hang out), easily 5 or 6 years ago. We became lunch friends. I'd ask in the chat room if anybody wanted to go to lunch. Sometimes hers was the only response, sometimes others joined in and made it a group thing. Lunches with Theresa were always fun and informative. I always learned something new during our lunches and other times we hung out. I learned a lot about cystic fibrosis and transplants from her, and she was a source of information after my diabetes diagnosis,
After my diabetes diagnosis I decided I needed to go to the gym on a more regular basis and get back into some kind of shape. She wanted to get "less puny" and prepare for another Transplant Games so for a little while, we became gym partners. Our gym routine worked out so that I'd do cardio while waiting for her to get to the Wellness Center, then we'd head to the weight training area (she wasn't a fan of cardio, but I made her do a little bit). One time after a particularly tough set of squats, she punched me in the arm, catching me totally off guard. After that it became her thing to do and I got punched in the arm a fair bit.
She was a fighter. She fought through all the problems cystic fibrosis dealt her, and never gave up. I remember her telling me that if she died of anything other than CF related causes, then she had won. I like to think that after everything she went through to survive 36 years with CF, she won anyway. Theresa's breathing easier now and won't have to worry about her lungs or kidneys breaking anymore.
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit her in the hospital a couple of times last week, the last time being Friday, two days before she died. Yesterday a bunch of us gathered at Tommy Condon's, her favourite watering hole, to celebrate Theresa and share stories over Guinness, her drink of choice. On Thursday I'll go to her funeral mass and say goodbye (or depending on my mood at the time, "see you in the next life"). Like many who knew Theresa, I'm sad she is gone and I'll miss her tremendously, but I feel like I'm a bit richer for having known her.
From Theresa's sister, Beth:
There will be a funeral Mass for Theresa Peters on Thurs 5/23 at 10:00 AM at Christ Our King Catholic Church located at 1122 Russell Drive, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. There will be a brunch following, locally. All are welcome.