It was just around this time last year — a couple of days ago, actually — that I became aware of a remarkable blog, Lemmondrops, the story of an ordinary young woman happily married to the man of her dreams (she said), and pregnant with her second child when a routine medical exam detected a carcinoma so big, and so complicated, that nothing could be done for it. A number of things fried me about this woman’s case: for starters, that her doctor said the thing had to have been growing for at least ten years, long before her marriage. That means it was growing all throughout her first pregnancy, and nobody ever caught it?! My jaundiced view of modern medicine is founded on just such occurrences, but I find it particularly outrageous that this woman, with a two-year-old and a ten-month-old, died because of sloppy medicine.
Then there was the fact that she was Catholic. Someone pointed out to me, when I was fretting about support, that Catholic priests had been very good to her grandmother in her last illness, and I don’t doubt that Emilie Lemmons herself received regular visits and lots of spiritual support; but what about after? What about her husband, and her young sons? I’ve never found the Catholic Church to be especially concerned about the survivors, and I was Catholic for thirty-one years before jumping ship. They bother me to this day. They bother me because of all the horrible times to lose somebody, none is worse than Christmas (though a wedding anniversary comes in a close second), and how did those little boys feel when they woke up and Mommy was no longer there? The ten-month-old, in particular–how could he possibly understand why he suddenly felt so horribly abandoned? And who’s been there to explain it to him, other than his grieving father and grandparents?
The last post on Lemmondrops reads, “Emilie passed away in her sleep last night,” and it was dated December 24, 2008. I’m not sure if “last night” refers to the evening of the 23rd, or the very early morning of the 24th, but either way, in Orthodox reckoning, today is a good day to whisper a “Memory Eternal” for Emilie Lemmons, and to ask God to send His consolation to the family she left behind. Go read her remarkable blog first.