I looked death in the eyes and I could not help her.

Finding myself through writing.

Finding myself through writing.

In my quest to understand my life, I had decided recently to discover my past. I have spent the last 4 months looking at my family and our roots. I had seen history being played out in the lives of so many of my dead relatives. It’s been a moving experience and has compelled me to tell the story of the dead. I began thinking about blogging about my genealogy discoveries , but certainly did not want to bore folks. So today I begin this journey, but it was not easy to get to this point. Recently I had an experience that influenced me beyond measure to create this blog and get rolling with it.
On May 1st, I had to go to the pharmacy as I usually do almost every two weeks for the past year.. Because of this, I had developed a nice relationship with my pharmacist. She was always busy, however, she made the time to say a kind word to you. She wanted to take a minute with you trying to understand where you were in your life and with your health. She knew I had fought a hard fight with an infection that riddled my body very weak last year. She saw me through a rough year as my pharmacist. That meant something to me. This particular afternoon, she looked so tired and run down so I just picked up my medicine and walked away from the counter. For some reason, I decided to look around at her as she went back to counting someone else’s pills and she must have felt my presence looking upon her. I saw death in her eyes and knew it, but walked off.
I know your thinking how can I say this? I don’t know really how I can, but I knew it. I gave her a quick glance of acknowledgement and a small smile and that was the last time I saw her. I then forgot about the feeling I had until 11 days later when I made my usual by monthly trip into the pharmacy. There was a note up on the counter explaining that she had died suddenly on May 3rd less than 48 hours after our eyes met for the last time. In the process of assimilating this information, I thought back on that brief encounter of our eyes meeting for a split second where I thought she looked like she was dying. I felt ashamed and guilty.. Why could I not have done something? After all I am a nurse and have been trained to help others with their health issues also.
In the days that have followed her untimely death, I learned more about this lovely woman. She sang in her Lutheran church choir. She also always tried to give a helping hand to those that did not have enough. She even paid for her patients’ meds when they did not have enough money, Her story made me think it needed to be told. In fact a lot of life stories need to be told. She made me realize this.


15 thoughts on “I looked death in the eyes and I could not help her.

  1. marbee

    Wow, this will be as interesting as your own family history! I am now intrigued and can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. Stacy

    Alesia, you continue to amaze me. You are such a friendly, bubbly, fun person. And beneath that there is a profound SOUL. I love that you are not writing about yourself, and your own incredible journey, but are writing with a goal of honoring others. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  3. Donna

    You are truly a blessing to all of us who know you as well as those you pass by in life. I am betting that the look and the passing smile you gave to your pharmacist said more to her than 1000 words could ever tell! You have such wisdom and honesty. I know that I, for one, will learn many things from your blogs 🙂

  4. Liza

    Great blog Alesia, it’s so amazing I knew you are a gifted writer and your great intuition of seeing death before it really happens is just icing on the cake. I knew it because we both experienced it when we were working in the hospital together.

      1. Julie

        Hi Alesia! Finally got signed up! You are a beautiful writer and an inspiration.
        I’m blessed to call you friend. Julie

  5. Laila Kacher

    Wow what a story. I know that when you looked your pharmacist in the eyes, you made a lasting impact on her. I knew you were fun and energizing as a friend but you also have such a talent for writing. Keep up the good work.

  6. Pingback: Revisiting WHY I started my BLOG! « alesiablogs

  7. Jane Fritz

    Alesia, you truly always come through in your writing as a gracious and nice human being. Also thoughtful, compassionate, and strong. Thanks for sharing this early post, yet another jaw-dropper!

  8. Roger Passman

    Thanks for linking me to this post. For some reason, albeit totally unrelated to the circumstances in your post, I was transported back to a trace memory of the death of my father. He died from pulmonary fibrosis, a death I wouldn’t wish on anyone, in California, nearly 2000 miles from my home. In his last days he told me not to bother to come out to say good bye, not in those precise words but the sentiment was clearly there. When he died I was numb but I was also overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt for not taking the initiative to fly out to be with him. Over the years since his death I have come to understand many things about this man and the sense of guilt has simply disappeared. In the final analysis, we all try to do the best we can with the tools we have. That has proven to be enough for me to make peace with my father, although it is my peace. I think he must have died without experiencing the peace of forgiveness.



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