In Memory of Annie Abramson Nelson: “Annie Nelson A Country & Western Dancer”
Annie Nelson was a Country Western dancer. She was also a Dance Instructor. She taught dance for the Reddig Parks and Recreation Department for about 20 years. She was also my friend! When I began to “dance again” in the early 1990’s I took lessons from her. As it turned out, she, at various times, took dance lessons from me, but mostly we just danced!
During one of my classes, a student asked me if I had talked to Anne lately and I said no. Our relationship was very much like “old friends” sometimes do. Our lives did not run in parallel, but we always knew that the other was there. My student related that she had talked to Annie that day and learned that her ovarian cancer was back. Annie had won a bout with ovarian cancer four years before. She had been through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and had done exceedingly well and the cancer had gone into remission.
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Now the cancer was back and she had decided not go through the treatments again. Once was enough. I assured my student that I would call Annie and see what we could do. I called and we talked. I assured her that whatever her choice all of us who cared would respect her decision. We would make it ” as good as we could, for as long as we could.” She opted for chemotherapy alone and we danced. She loved to two-step. Even in her frailty, she’d dance me into the floor.
On one visit she told me that she had found her best friend from high school, whom she hadn’t seen or heard from in 40 years. Turns out, said friend was an ICU nurse, living about four hours away. So Patricia Lee Cabral visited from her home in Eugene, Oregon and she and Annie caught up. Pattie became Annie’s medical mentor and advisor. She took charge and Annie rallied! And we danced!
As Annie’s condition progressed, Pattie’s presence became more and more commonplace. On one visit, she brought along her sister, Charlotte. Charlotte told us about a program she’d found on the Internet called SHARE THE CARE™ and it sounded very intriguing. Annie had friends and co-workers who cared enough to maintain contact with visits and calls but it was all kind of haphazard. Though all of us cared, but nobody really knew what to do or how to do it. We really, at times, got in each other’s way. Especially me.
And it just happened that, Charlotte had some forms and instructions with her that she had downloaded from the SHARE THE CARE™ web site. Fancy that! These two women got us going, and things began to “flow” more easily. We all had one goal in common. To see that Annie had what she needed and (to the best of our ability) what she wanted. What she wanted most was to have her family, three brothers with families living four hours away, with her. So they began to make that arduous trip on a regular basis and their visits got longer and longer. Annie was tickled pink and happy!
Annie died well and comfortable because we “shared the care!” There were so many who gave Annie time, help, love and comfort. I could not begin to name them all…somewhere there’s a list, I know. No one of us could have given Annie all that she got on our own! It was a group effort. And I also know that the “care they shared” has come back to them!
Annie was our friend and we miss her still.