Theresa had suffered through so much in her 32 years, including a congenital disorder called Marfan Syndrome, and a leaky heart valve which required two open heart surgeries. With all that suffering, though, she was indomitable.
She was driven by a love for life and a love for those around her.
She had her first open heart surgery at the age of 15.
How did she follow that up? She wound up representing the city of Worcester in the Massachusetts division of the Miss Teen USA Pageant.
Later on, doctors told her that due to her medical condition she would probably not be able to have children.
How did she follow that up? She wound up founding her own day care business, called Ladybug Day Care, which she ran out of her house.
She excelled at this to the point where the kids and their families treated her like one of their own. In fact, some of the kids still visit Theresa's family to this day.
Theresa's life was short, but she did live. She did experience things. She touched many lives, and was loved by many people.
The number of people at her wake serves as a testament to how she could touch people's lives.

There was a lot in life for Theresa to enjoy.

She was a huge fan of the music of Cyndi Lauper, and had just about every release she had ever put out (except for a really rare early album that I tried to find for her).

She loved to play Trivial Pursuit, or any type of trivia game for that matter. She and I always used to battle each other while watching Jeopardy, both of us always trying to spit out the answer first.

And she was a huge fan of the actor George Clooney, from his ER days to his more recent movie roles. (The last evening we would ever spend together would be at a local theatre watching George's latest offering, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". She loved it. And days after she died, her family was telling me how happy she was to be able to get out that day.)

I am sorry to say that I came into her life late. By the time we met, she would only have nine months left among us. I wish I could have gotten to know her earlier, share in some other wondrous experiences in her life.

Do I regret anything about this? Only the fact that she is now gone. If I had to do it again, knowing that we would only have nine months to live and love, I would still do so without hesitation. She was just that special to me.

We shared interests. We shared activities. And we shared something, the likes of which I had never before experienced.

She, or at least a part of her, will be with me forever.

Therefore, it is with a great deal of joy, mixed in with the sadness of her sudden departure, that I tell you about my Theresa...and one of the things foremost on her mind.

When we first got together, she told me about her uncle Bob and grilled me about the status of my organ donor registration. I filled out the card when I re-did my license this year. She told me how important organ donation was, and how passionately she felt about it. Unbeknownst to both of us, a health crisis just a month after we got together would necessitate her being put on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

She had her diagnosis. She had her beeper. She just didn't have the time.

When Theresa passed away in her sleep on the morning of Tuesday, January 30th, she was still at least 10-16 months away from a transplant, at best estimate.
She left behind a mother who had just lost her husband not even two years ago, a mother who now has to endure the burial of her only child.
She left behind her best friend, her compatriot and partner-in-crime for 26 years.
She left two young cousins with whom she was always close.
She left behind a handful of day care kids who thought of her as part of their family.
And, she also left behind a man loved her more and more each day.

This is a poem which I had written for Theresa in September of 2000, when she was yet again in the hospital, and was venting to me about how sick and tired she was of the whole thing. It was one of her down periods, and unfortunately I had to work the following night and could not get to the hospital to see her. So I wrote the first three stanzas of this poem and faxed it to her (via the nurse's station). The last stanza, obviously, was an addendum written after her death.

If I Had A Magic Wand"

(C) 2000 William S. Robert

If I had a magic wand
Its powers at my beck and call
It's you whom I would focus on
I'd take your ills and cure them all
With my wand I'd make you well
A fervent wave from head to toe
'Till I overcame your spell
And nevermore would you feel woe
Oh, what strength I could apply
To ailing parts that aren't quite whole
I could make you fit to fly
A heart as healthy as your soul

If I had a magic wand
Endowed with powers from the stars
I'd work towards my greatest want
I'd stop your pain, cast out your scars
How I wish I had a way
When pulse and push have come to shove
To correct what went astray
Through strength of will and all my love
I see you with worried eyes
Replete with problems I can't ease
My wand would cut them down to size
Take down this Sword Of Damocles

I talk of a magic wand
I wish to bring you happiness
In my thoughts it has now dawned
These implements I do possess
Magic wands are on my hands
The fingers that brush back each tear
Touch you as only I can
Caress your face as you're held near
Arms are also magic wands
In which great powers can be stored
To hold you on and on and on
And show you how much you're adored

If I had a magic wand
To use to try to understand
Why you slipped your earthly bond
Why alone I now must stand
I'd look to it to find a place
Where I'd still be blessed by your voice
My eyes would light up with your face
Your touch would make my heart rejoice
But this is not the thing to do
No vain attempts to question why
I'll just look up and search for you
A bright new light in a solemn sky

For Theresa...with all my love...Bill

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