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http://lh5.ggpht.com/gallant.christopher/R0trya7cZYI/AAAAAAAAAKE/mJ54FJMa690/s400/FreshCutGrass_3360x1050.jpg Connie Shannon “When you open the tennis can and it whistles, order cheap innopran xl online think of me” -  Karen The other morning, order cheap innopran xl online an old friend came to see me. She and I and some other members from my tennis club were seated at a church service, order cheap innopran xl online in my dreams. Dreams are funny. They feel so real at the time we are dreaming them. I haven’t thought of Karen in a while. Life moves us forward and memories of those who’ve left us are eventually placed on our memory shelves, order cheap innopran xl online until those times we are compelled to remember them. It was one of those dreams that stayed with me after I woke up. Karen was a friend of mine I met at my club where I play tennis. I wouldn’t say she and I became fast friends. She was older than I was and a better player. I remember when I first met her, order cheap innopran xl online I was intimidated. Order cheap innopran xl online On the court and off, order cheap innopran xl online she could be tough and no nonsense at times. Order cheap innopran xl online   In the same breath, order cheap innopran xl online she was the first to laugh at herself, order cheap innopran xl online and had this naturally light, order cheap innopran xl online gracious demeanor.  And more than (almost) anything, order cheap innopran xl online Karen loved tennis.  She was a terrific doubles player and formidable competitor. Order cheap innopran xl online Everything Karen did, order cheap innopran xl online she did exceptionally well. And for someone new to town, order cheap innopran xl online who primarily joined the club to socialize and meet people, order cheap innopran xl online Karen’s strong alpha presence was something I had to warm up to. Which is one of the reasons why taking up tennis has been so good for me. Sports teach us a lot about ourselves and about others. I guess you could say I didn’t get to know Karen well until she became ill. She was playing out on the court one day and fell and fractured her hip. The injury led to her finding she had Stage four bone cancer. After she had been diagnosed, order cheap innopran xl online some friends at the club and I began to take dinners to her house once a week (which grew into more evenings as time passed) , order cheap innopran xl online which turned into welcomed weekly get togethers for everyone.  One various weekdays, order cheap innopran xl online I would take her two terriers for a walk.   To be more accurate, order cheap innopran xl online it was the terriers who walked me.    They were small, order cheap innopran xl online but incredibly strong for their size and equally enthusiastic for a run around the neighborhood.   At times when the chemo and radiation sapped her of almost all of her strength and energy, order cheap innopran xl online we would take turns driving Karen to the hospital for treatments. During such times, order cheap innopran xl online we’d catch up on the typical things happening over at the club - what matches were going on, order cheap innopran xl online  who was playing well and any club gossip she may have missed. Order cheap innopran xl online We’d talk about how the chemo treatments were going, order cheap innopran xl online which ones had worked, order cheap innopran xl online which ones weren’t, order cheap innopran xl online and how she was feeling. Order cheap innopran xl online   Interestingly, order cheap innopran xl online in knowing others who have gone through chemotherapy, order cheap innopran xl online Karen actually looked forward to her treatments which seemed to make her feel better. Order cheap innopran xl online   They seemed to give her energy. It was only when her blood count would become too low that she couldn’t receive treatments, order cheap innopran xl online which was difficult for her in many ways namely because of the cancer spreading. Order cheap innopran xl online   At other times, order cheap innopran xl online Karen would tell me about her days in the working world as an Advertising exec, order cheap innopran xl online of which I have no doubt she was probably the best in her field and/or at least her division. Order cheap innopran xl online   She did mention on a few occasions stories of being a female in a very male world, order cheap innopran xl online and shared some stories of things she had to put up with at the time, order cheap innopran xl online as being the only woman at her level.   There were other things we didn’t talk about too much, order cheap innopran xl online but things she and I both understood. Karen had been in a long term relationship with another woman, order cheap innopran xl online whom she spoke of rarely, order cheap innopran xl online more or less in passing.  She had mentioned to me she had joined the club not long after her break up with her partner. I can’ t remember how long exactly they had been together. Order cheap innopran xl online They had been together quite a while. Order cheap innopran xl online To Karen, order cheap innopran xl online the break up was pretty abrupt and unexpected.  One afternoon I was over helping Karen get the upstairs cleaned up in her home. Order cheap innopran xl online   We were cleaning in the bathroom, order cheap innopran xl online and I went to unplug a curling iron sitting on the counter which curiously was on, order cheap innopran xl online but Karen didn’t use a curling iron.  She stopped me before I could turn it off.   The curling iron belonged to her ex and Karen kept it plugged in and turned on since the day her partner left  some years before. The curling iron stayed on until Karen died.  For some reason, order cheap innopran xl online this has remained with me. I remember the ex partner failing to make it over to visit Karen when she was ill, order cheap innopran xl online or when she was dying.  That has remained with me as well. Ironically, order cheap innopran xl online if irony is the word, order cheap innopran xl online it seemed to be the chapter in Karen’s life which brought her to the club, order cheap innopran xl online and to us for a time being.    In the eleventh hour of Karen’s time here, order cheap innopran xl online she even managed to make us laugh. Order cheap innopran xl online Two nights before Karen passed, order cheap innopran xl online our crew of friends were over trying to help Karen get things as situated as possible.  Before the illness took over, order cheap innopran xl online Karen was always very organized and orderly. Order cheap innopran xl online   However, order cheap innopran xl online as the illness progressed and her body weakened, order cheap innopran xl online she was less physically able, order cheap innopran xl online needless to say to move up and down the stairs to get things done.    By this point, order cheap innopran xl online Karen was bed ridden, order cheap innopran xl online on oxygen full time and extremely weak.     We were searching for the title papers for one of her Vespas which she was giving to her niece and nephews.   As the search was proving unsuccessful, order cheap innopran xl online Karen was becoming frustrated to the point that she exclaimed the best she could, order cheap innopran xl online “I’m not going anywhere until we find those papers!” While we finally found the papers and she felt at ease, order cheap innopran xl online we teased with Karen that, order cheap innopran xl online if she was not going to leave, order cheap innopran xl online then there was no reason in finding them.  I’m glad Karen came to see me the other morning, order cheap innopran xl online if only in my dreams. Order cheap innopran xl online It prompted me take her memory off the ’shelf ‘and pay tribute to a wonderful person and spirit, order cheap innopran xl online who was incredibly full of life and enthusiasm while she was here.  Karen lived by her own standards and passions, order cheap innopran xl online fell deeply in love with a woman at a time and in a working world where it was anything but fashionable, order cheap innopran xl online and she fought her illness as hard as she fought her opponents on the court.   She held the bone cancer at bay for a while too - longer than many. Order cheap innopran xl online    There was one point during her illness that she was feeling better, order cheap innopran xl online the chemo was ‘working’, order cheap innopran xl online and she would take her beloved Vespa out for a spin and would drive to the club to watch the drop in doubles on the weekend. Order cheap innopran xl online   I remember Saturday she was there.  She mentioned to me how incredible it was to smell the cut grass as she was driving over that morning.  She had tears in her eyes when she talked.  Whenever I smell fresh cut grass, order cheap innopran xl online I always think of Karen. Order cheap innopran xl online And after writing this, order cheap innopran xl online I’m reminded to remember her when the tennis can whistles.  Love you Karen. Order cheap innopran xl online