I dedicate my HCR fight to Liz

As regular readers of my blog (thank you both) know, I have committed to the fight for decent universal health care in America, the last wealthy nation not to have anything approaching such a thing. I have now decided to dedicate my fight in spirit to my cousin Elizabeth, who succumbed to breast cancer this weekend and is no longer with us.

To Liz, mind, not her cancer! Let me tell you why. No, back up, let me tell you why not.

Liz’s cancer, though it obliterated her in the end, was far and away the least of her; it wasn’t in fact part of her at all, even if it was made of cells of her perverted away from her true nature. Though it cost everything to her and her family, it isn’t the cost of battling the cancer that is important to her family, immediate or world-flung; it’s the loss of Liz herself, her bravery and good humor and compassion.

I don’t actually know what the financial cost of Liz’s disease to her family was, nor do I plan to ask. It wasn’t nothing, or anything close to nothing, of that I’m sure; if her immediate family needs financial help in the wake of her loss, her wider family including me will pull together and take care of her husband and children, you can bank on that.

I do know, since Liz wasn’t American, that it’s unlikely that her family’s finances will be irretrievably destroyed, or that her children will have to face the loss of their home as well as their mother. I also know, because she told me so, that Liz shared my disgust at the thought that any family should suffer such a double tragedy; perhaps I should also mention that she said that before she got sick herself.

Now let me tell you why.

It’s already been a long, hard, frustrating battle to push American health care reform this far. I am so desperately tired of making my little calls to Congresscritters’ staffers, to add my tine of a feather’s weight to their consideration. I am nauseated at the thought of discussing it any further in letters to those politicians, to the editors of newspapers, in my blog, in comments on other blogs, in my FaceBook posts. When an opening to the subject occurs in a conversation, my throat clenches a little before I speak.

I am dedicating this fight to Liz, not because she needed it, but because I need a little of her, and the gifts she had and never stinted of sharing; her calm good cheer, her sweetness and consideration toward others, and her indomitable courage.

My cousin Liz, with my niece Molly

My cousin Liz, with my niece Molly


~ by B.T. Murtagh on September 26, 2009.

2 Responses to “I dedicate my HCR fight to Liz”

  1. Incredibly well put Brian. It is utterly amazing that one of the wealthiest nations on earth is still having to fight and struggle so hard against a tide of small-mindedness to implement a system of universal health care that could help to alleviate the pain and suffering of so many families caused by illness and disease and the astronomical costs currently associated with them.
    Equally amazing (and no less disgusting) is the willingness of an overly vocal minority to turn such an important issue into just another political football and bandy about political phrases du jour like “socialism” and “death panels”. How darkly ironic that these same mental midgets seem to have no qualms about the current “death panels” which are operated by the for-profit insurance companies.
    My own father, who passed away 10 years ago, was also a victim of just such a “death panel” when he was told that he could not have a life-saving operation performed on him because he had no money, no insurance and no social security. His initial heart attack resulted in a 3 day stay in hospital which further resulted in a $35,000.00 bill. Let me assure you, the first neo-con nut job who has the balls to tell me that my father “should’ve got himself some decent insurance” will be the first to receive repeated blows of my fists to their face. So before you approach me in this manner, you better make sure that you yourself have some “decent insurance” because you will need it…

  2. This is a beautiful tribute, and it sounds as though Liz was a beautiful person.

    You know that we’re together in this fight for HCR, on the very same page, in fact. From this point on, with every petition signed, email sent, phone call placed, etc., I will think of Liz and my sister, Julie, who also died of cancer, leaving behind two young children, a dedicated husband and untold financial debt.

    Thank you for your commitment to this cause, and for sharing your personal pain and experience with us. Perhaps in doing so, Liz’s (and Julie’s) passing will not be in vain.

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