I found out yesterday that a friend of mine from college, Kerry Halva Cash, had passed away. It was quite a shock, yet at the same time not entirely unexpected. She was born with a congenital heart defect, and received a heart transplant several years ago. THe transplant seemed to be successful, but earlier this month her immune system started rebelling against it. She had checked into the University of Iowa Medical Center to undergo plasmapheresis, and that's where she passed away on Tuesday afternoon.
I've been trying to remember exactly how and when I met her, but it's escaping me. I know we worked on the yearbook together, and for some reason I this idea in my head that we took a class on the Arab-Israeli Conflict together. And I'm pretty sure we lived in the same dorm for at least one year. Regardless, she was a good friend back in those days, and I had fun spending time with her. We mostly fell out of contact after college, though I saw her occasionally at reunions and always enjoyed seeing her. We reconnected a couple of years ago via Facebook, and I really enjoyed getting to know her again.
One thing I learned about her once we became Facebook friends was that she loved poetry, so in her memory here's a poem I know she particularly admired:
Ode to the West Wind
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)