ELLEN | family

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Some may remember the story of Ellen, aka number 18. Nonetheless, we remember, always will, and our thankful for her friendship which developed from a simple photo shoot. She has been etched into our hearts.

As a 40th wedding anniversary to her parents, Ellen, her brother, and her husband were photographed. Here is more than a thank you from Ellen. She is an eloquent, emotional writer.

During this last hospitalization I came to a true crossroad that they talk about in movies: there was not a white light and no dead relatives beckoned my name, but I do know this: For the first time, with my body tired and sick, racked with a systemic staph infection and the knowledge that I can no longer work or drive, that my beloved hobbies are becoming increasingly difficult, that at least two more surgeries are on the books and no cure is in sight, that I had a choice to make. With 100% mental clarity, the numbing pacificity of narcotics worn off, I had to make an inventory of all of the reasons that I had to fight – because the time had come that it would truly have been easier to give in to the infection and let my body follow the path that all of my vital signs and lab work indicated I was headed.

But for whatever reason, that inventory of reasons to fight was pretty long. And for that reason, I write this to you now.

But truly, that is not the point. I hydrate through a tube. I would probably mess up any toilet training child due to the rerouting of my anatomy. I take 68 pills a day and 32 shots a week. But somehow – and I don’t know how you do it – I look at those pictures….and as long as I don’t study them TOO long, I truly feel beautiful.

Thank you for that gift. I’ll treasure it as long as I live. That for a few hours on August 18th, 2008, I felt beautiful. You are artists and gift givers. And I can never repay you for that except to give you my most sincere thank you. I’m glad to call you my friends.