Elizabeth Ann Duchi

Dec 3, 1939 – Oct 8, 2004

Sixty-four years ago my middle sister was born: Elizabeth Ann “Betty/Liz” Clemens.
She was married forty-six years, had four children, and was the funniest person I knew.
A year ago she developed a wracking cough.
Eight months ago she was diagnosed with stage four Adenosarcoma in her lungs
Two months ago she was accepted in an experimental cancer treatment, her only possible hope.
Three weeks ago she had lung surgery for the making of a vaccine from her own cells.
Two weeks ago she came to stay with me.

We talked, laughed, told stories, and had a few visitors.
We were anxious and we were scared.
We slept a little, ate a little, cried a little.
I bathed her body, changed her clothes, combed her hair, and rubbed her swollen ankles.
I brought her food and water and pills and tissues and oxygen tanks and blankets and love.

I was washing her feet.
She said I would not come back as a cockroach.
I said I didn’t think you believed in reincarnation.
She said she must be getting religion.

A week ago Liz took a turn for the worse.
Four days ago I drove her back to the hospital in Sacramento. She had pneumonia.
Each day her daughter Julie phoned me and said Liz was getting weaker.
This morning my sister died.

She simply had no breath left in her. I think she was too tired to be scared—and I know she was too frail to go on.

Tomorrow my son and I will meet my brother and his wife in Carmel and drive to Liz’s home in Fallbrook.
The next day there will be a small family gathering.
The day after that,Betty Clemens, Sonora, 1951
and the day after that,
and the day after that,
we will celebrate her life.

One day at a time.

Catherine Sevenau
October 2004

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  1. Brock Arner says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. You make her into a wonderful person who I wish I had known.

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