A few personal observations before I return to the trivia of politics. During my wife’s 16 month battle with cancer she showed a grace, courage and strength that I am sure I do not possess.
During that time she insisted that we live life to the fullest and not let the disease control what time we had together. But Suzanne also had a hard practical side; she probably inherited it from those Eastern Kentucky ancestors that settled the state in the early 1800’s.
She was a CPA. Family and friends often, and to her face, referred to Suzanne as “O Retentive One”, “Bean Counter” or “The Queen Mother”. She took all of it in stride and gave better than she got in the verbal repartee.
During her illness, the tragedy of the Terri Shiavo case played out in Florida. Suzanne, did not have a living will, but had clearly and on numerous occasions made her decision about end of life clear to all. All of her family supported her decision.
A few days before she died, her doctors came to her hospital room to say that they had reached the limits of their knowledge and asked her if she wanted extraordinary measures to be taken.
Suzanne’s response was a clear and concise one word answer - “NO”.
Thankfully, Jeb Bush is not the Governor of Kentucky and Bill Frist has never heard of Suzanne and Ralph Long.
Every day she went for radiation therapy we passed a door labeled “Stem Cell Research” and wondered if what they were doing in that lab had anything to do with treating cancer.
I don’t know if stem cell research will ever produce any significant medical advancement, no one really does at this time. But I will say that I am completely supportive of any research that might spare someone the ravages of cancer.
To those self-serving, sanctimonious political hypocrites that claim a mass of cells in a Petri dish is a person, I hope you never have to watch a loved one waste away and wonder if their might be a cure if only we had done the research we could have done years ago.
When I was running for the state house last cycle, my opponent’s final direct mail piece was compendium of half truths and innuendo, labeling me a Howard Dean Liberal.
He got one thing right, (yes, I was amazed); I am a liberal in Kentucky. I would also be a moderate in some states and as my daughter Jessica said when she saw the piece, “Dad, in some places you’d be a conservative Republican.”
But the conservative voice, moderating my liberal tendencies, was not in my head. The voice came from the other side of the kitchen table, and she is not there now. Suzanne was often the sounding board for my posts. She sometimes read the post, shook her head and walked away.
She said I should write anything I wanted, but that I had to be fair. The woman had an uncompromising sense of fairness.
So with that said one last thing:
One of her favorite songs was “Get Over It” by the Eagles.
I’ll try Babe, but it’s not going to be easy.