TOMS, Margot Quainton
July 26, 1954 - November 16, 2002
Dear Margot,
This is the tenth anniversary of your passing. You were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. For the next two years you fought a courageous battle. Every report regarding your illness was worse than the one before. The process you endured for two years was truly brutal. Despite the cancer leaving you blind and partially paralysed, not once did you ask "Why me?" say "It isn't fair" or complain in any manner whatsoever. Nor did you lose your sense of humour. You listened to music, sang and enjoyed your remaining life to the fullest extent that you could. In the end the cancer claimed your life but it could not break your spirit. I knew you since you were fourteen years old. We grew up together and were married when you were twenty years old. As I reflect back on your life, it was one wherein you always displayed honesty, integrity, compassion and a kind and positive spirit. You never once gave voice to envy, jealousy, or a mean thought regarding anyone. You were as close to perfect as is humanly possible. I regret and apologize to you that I did not notice that something was wrong with you sooner. You found the lump in your breast yourself, but it was too late. I should have noticed. You always looked after me. Unfortunately, I failed you. I am glad that you did not know that I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer within weeks of your death. I was not expected to live a year. Forward thinking treatment by a fabulous Doctor, Doctor Janis Bormanis, saved my life. Continuing cutting edge treatment by another fabulous Doctor, Doctor Linda Lacroix, has stabilized my cancer and dramatically enhanced my quality of life. I also owe gratitude for the superb care that I have received in the Medical Day Care Units, first at the Civic Hospital and now at the Montfort Hospital. The nurses, in the MDC Units, with their kind care, compassion and humour have made my many treatments a blessing. As well, I have no doubt that you, Margot, are the angel who is sitting on my shoulder watching over me. Even though I have a long way to go, you made me a far better man than I ever would have been without knowing you. I have met and married another wonderful woman. I am well aware that I do not deserve my good fortune. To honour you, I am trying my best to live as did you and to embrace life. Margot, thank you for all that you did for me. You gave me a beautiful life. I will remember you with admiration and love for as long as I live.

Published in The Ottawa Citizen on Nov. 16, 2012