I have not been on top of my game lately. As a matter of fact, I haven’t been 100% since Tuesday August 30th. I was scheduled to shoot photos with one of my favorite photographers for my job at Methodist Rehabilitation Center,and at lunch attend a surprise farewell party for my husband from his full time job with the U.S. Army. Around 11 a code blue was announced over the hospital loud speaker, followed immediately by a second code blue and any “physician stat.” A coworker of mine who was in my office at the time said, “That’s not good when the call one twice, what’s going on around here?” I silently said a prayer and went back to downloading the photos, when shortly after a coworker of mine called and informed me that the code blue was for a fellow worker Jane and asked if I had any contact information for her family.
I paused unable to speak or breathe, my Army wife instincts kicked in, no time for tears only for action. I only had email addresses from contact with her family. Only weeks earlier they surprised her by taking her to lunch on her completion of chemotherapy. I helped orchestrate the surprise with her boss. I have to begin by telling you about who was Jane Luke. First and foremost she’s my friend. She’s worked at MRC before the doors officially opened more than 36 years ago, and we became close during the renovations of the 4th floor where she worked. She was temporarily moved to my office suite on the 7th floor. She usually arrived early as did I, and we would spend our mornings swapping stories and laughing. We found we had so much in common besides our age differences, even though she was almost 65, she loved hip hop music and art among millions of other things. She used to visit my office just to look at two Outkast paintings my friend, Marques Phillips created and were on my wall. I have an email where I asked her how she was feeling, and she responded with Big Boi’s chorus off Ghettomusik, “Feeling good, feeling great, how are you?” She along with my other coworker Juanita were my official female version of “Grumpy Old Men”
The were absolutely hysterical, and even though Jane moved to the newly renovated 4th floor we touched base at least 3 times a week, through email or office visits she was a bright spot in my workdays. But not only my work days but all those around me. The walls of MRC are a bit muted without her but I guess that’s where I pick the story up again.
Jane had been ill, and against doctors orders returned to work after an appointment. This wasn’t entirely unheard of especially considering the fact that she took her chemo treatments on her lunch break. After her coding our medical team along with our neighbors(University Medical Center) brought her back to this side. They started her heart back and she had begun to breathe on her own. That Tuesday afternoon my husband and I visited her in the ER, Wednesday they moved her to ICU, I hoped and prayed. Thursday her beautiful blue eyes were open but she wasn’t entirely there, Friday scan results had concluded she was in a vegetative state and the very tough decision to pull the plug, was made by her loving family. Through the whole ordeal they were loving, open and gracious and shared her life and her moments openly with her coworkers. They are all made from the same unbelievable magic as Jane.
On Saturday her vent was removed and early Sunday morning, one of the most amazing and talented women to ever walk the face of the earth flew home. To say I miss her is an understatement. I keep thinking I’m going to run into her or get an email and I’m still coming to grips with the fact that she has truly left the building. She left so much love, and so many memories behind and everyone at MRC who crossed paths with her is absolutely heart broken. Her passing took a bit of wind out of my sails but I float on knowing she would have it no other way. I know how much she loved me and I loved her the same. I have so many emails and great memories of her, she loved Star Wars and if it was divine plan a Star Wars marathon was on the day after her passing.
We all have stories to tell and we’ve all faced hills to climb but I honestly must say this one has not been easy, her passing was so sudden and unexpected and for dozens around her life shattering.
Create art, yea I still manage but I’ve lost my spark. They are not as clear and vibrant as they once were. I guess that’s ok, I’ve won accolades motivated by her, but her not being here to share them make it bittersweet. Life is so precious and I’m so grateful to share this ride with all of you. I just know one day the bus will stop, it will be time to journey to our next destination but I sure enjoyed the ride and learned a lot from the miles we’ve traveled together. Godspeed my good friend, you live forever in my heart along with the hearts of countless others.