dear sabrina...

in the almost six years that i worked with you i was regularly astounded at your survival.  the circumstances and events of your life would have destroyed most people. so many times, i would return from visits to your home or hospital room or doctors and think it was nearly "the end" but you always found something left to power you on. 

despite the tough-bitch-take-no-shit persona you showed to others, your core was compassionate and empathetic.  you loved animals; especially cats.  you were intelligent and acutely observant.  you could spot a phony a mile away.  you were always thinking of and doing for others, often to the detriment of your own needs.  you were witty and sarcastic and i loved it.

you would always apologize for being such a "difficult client" but i never hesitated to point out why you were strong, resiliant and powerful. you were your own harshest critic, going back over every detail of your life and only looking at the wrong turns.  

i know that you were trying to let me know you were dying three months ago but i wasn't seeing it.  i privately thought your death was imminent so many times previously i guess i thought you were invincible.

so today, when i got the call saying that you had passed away it seemed impossible.  and yet, i knew it would happen.  although you had finally gotten sober in the last six months, the damage had already been done.  your body was simultaneously fighting too many chronic battles; HIV, HCV, alcoholism and depression.

i hope you found peace at the end and it wasn't lonely. please know that i am a better person for having known you.  you taught me so much about perseverance, compassion, humility and  self discipline. 

i will miss you,



  1. I am sorry to hear about Sabrina just know that she is now free to fly on the wings of the world. She has paid her dues here and she is now blessed.

  2. Sadly, my husband of more than 40 years died following a two year battle with esophageal cancer. I wrote this piece about a month before his death, just as a way to purge my psyche of the huge pall that engulfed me. Coming back to this piece later, I see that, like you with Sabrina, I knew what I didn’t want to know – the end was near.

    Walking Beside
    Walking beside this dying man …
    He sheds pounds like autumn leaves
    His previous vice abandons him
    Appetite, his favorite pastime
    Gone, no interest, no joy
    No pleasure in foods that satisfy

    He dwindles
    No reading
    No doing

    Hair sheds too – blanketing surfaces
    Showing skin and bones
    Abandoned by the softness of
    A fine pewter do

    Sorry he says
    When it’s the best that
    He can do
    No more sorries
    I say, you’re doing the
    Best you can do

    His smile is squiggly
    But genuinely
    Lights his eyes
    So little does these days

    Will he get better
    Before he gets worse?
    Hoping won’t make it so
    But there’s not much more
    We can do

    But get through each day
    Cherish the moments

    There are brave souls among us that bless our lives with joy and models of strength; Sabrina lives on in your heart and the minds of your readers.
    Thanks for sharing her with us.

  3. how surprised, the people we have come to know through our work are, that we are actually learning more from them than they will ever learn from us......very moving renee and oh so true. I am sure she enjoyed your company.

  4. thank you everyone for your kind words.
    anonymous: you're right, sabrina is finally free.
    ellie: i'm so sorry for the loss of your husband. thank you for sharing your writing. i imagine it took a lot of bravery to write those things down.
    corin: i think i learn more from my clients than they learn from me.


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