She’d just finally started having the life she always wanted.

The first 18 years of her adult life were spent with an abusive husband. Emigration, working at a poultry factory during the day and cleaning offices at night.

Then she got an education, read feminist authors, and found the strength to leave the horrible abusive rapist husband.

But then there were boyfriend troubles, job troubles, kid troubles, money troubles, the usual.

But finally she had the work she liked (low-pressure, stay-at-home translation services), a nice income, the house she looooved (overpriced, cramped, and in Anjou, but there’s no accounting for tastes), the boyfriend she turned from a loser deadbeat into a respectable middle-class fellow, a favorite local hangout place (a brasserie with gynormous – even by my standards – plates of really nice food), a collection of teas from David’s, and a favorite vacation spot in the Caribbean. Her very difficult daughter was finally grown, and even the abusive ex became a friend of sorts.

And right when it all came together, she got the death sentence. At 47! So unfair.

What Happened

She sat alone at home, brooding about the injustice of her illness, that’s what happened. Physically, she wasn’t doing bad. I mean, she had terminal cancer, so it obviously wasn’t great. But they found medication that was working, the tumors were shrinking. They weren’t going to disappear, but it wasn’t a bad moment in terms of her physical state.

Emotionally, though, she was a wreck. I spent a day with her when I was in Canada over the summer, and I almost got suicidal. Because you can’t be around this kind of a depression without professional training. I have absolutely no idea what could have been done to help her.

In the end, it was the morphine. Yes, you could say she would have died anyway. But it didn’t have to be so soon.