Order amid Chaos

Holly Warnet


Holly had a stem cell transplant in June; she was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I was getting more and more depressed and my husband was taking on more and more of the family responsibilities. I worked half days and then went to the hospital to stay with Holly until around 8 or 9. I would take Kaitlyn with me on the weekends when the doctors said it was okay.

Chris would come over when Holly was not in the hospital and sit and talk to her in her room for hours. He would leave with tears in his eyes. Chris is an Army trained nurse; he worked with cancer patients in the Army hospital during his training. He would tell us what it was like for him watching a stranger die from cancer. He couldn't understand how Holly was being so brave.

Holly really was my backbone as well as I was hers through it all. Holly's attitude when she was first diagnosed was great, she would always say, "I know I have cancer but I'm going to do what I want and if the cancer doesn't like it, it will have to leave." Her attitude when she relapsed was not as good. I tried and tried to get her mind on the right track but she just didn't have the same fight in her as the first time. But even though her attitude was different she still didn't play on the fact that she had cancer. She never used it as an excuse, and if anyone asked her how she was feeling she would always say "I have had better days and I've had worse, today I'm not feeling that bad". If you knew Holly or not, you would not guess that she was that sick because she would not let anyone know. Only Holly, Rick and myself knew that she was going to die and none of us really wanted to believe it.

On Holly's 20th birthday she came into my room and sat on the bed beside me and cried because this was going to be her last birthday. That was on October 3, 1996. I think that this was the first time that we cried together. It also made everything become real.

We celebrated Kaitlyn's 1st birthday on December 6, 1996 and afterward we cried together again. We didn't talk about why we were crying we just knew what the other was thinking.

We went into debt for Christmas that year. We wanted everything special for Holly. She was so sick by this time that she could not remember anything and she slept most of the time. Holly and I spent New Year's Eve in the hospital. The doctors told me at that time that she was not going to make it through the month. Holly died on January 21st 1997. I was afraid to come home and tell everyone that she died. I was afraid that my son would go back to his drugs. I sat in my car in the parking lot for about an hour trying to sort things out in my mind and find a way to tell everyone.