Cecily's Integrity

    Cec was special to so many people. Even those who had only met her a few times felt bonded with her. When I told my doctor about the difficulty that I've had in coping with the loss of my dearest friend and just mentioned Cecily's first name ... the doctor responded with a sense of already knowing the whole story: telling me that many of her patients are going through the same thing as a result of Cecily Adams' passing and were making special appointments to come in just to talk about their feelings regarding the loss. She told me that she'd never seen anything quite like it --- so many of her patients with no connection other than to Cecily, and all going through a very similar traumatic experience. I was quite taken aback, and answered "Kind of like an epidemic?" ... which she affirmed.

     Let me tell just a handful of anecdotes that will convey just a tiny sense of Cecily's  uniqueness, and what drew people towards her.

     Some years ago, when I was living in a small 2-story apartment building, Cec noticed that the outdoor cat who lived on the porch of the lady below me was walking around with an infected eye. Cec mentioned it to the woman, who just responded that the cat would be ok.

     I didn't think about it anymore, except to note that indeed within the week that cat was fine. It was much later that Cec told me the rest of the story: every night at midnight for a week, Cecily drove from Resceda back to my apartment building in Studio City, and placed kitty eye drops in the cat's eye.

    That story by itself says practically everything.

     Staying with cats: Jim had found 2 baby kittens under their house who seemed quite ill, apparently abandoned by the mother. Cecily nursed the kittens with milk and an eye-dropper, hugging them and whispering constantly in their ears "please don't die." She took care of them for months, even took them to the vet, until they were finally seemingly better and ready for adoption (Cec and Jim already had too many cats of their own). 

    The day that the kittens were put into a cage at the pet store so that people could come by to view them, Cec was like a mother sending her kids off to school for the first time. She kept at a distance, trying to peek to see what sort of impression that her kittens were making. Eventually each was adopted by a different family.

     When Cec was made aware some weeks later by the store that a customer had reported that one of the cats had become ill, Cec insisted on footing the vet bill to try to save the kitten. Sadly the cat didn't make it. Cec was later informed that the second kitten had also died early. They both had too many defects from birth to grow into healthy adults.

     Cec was as devastated as any human being I've ever seen. In later years I would try to talk about the cats, but she couldn't do it. It would just bring Cec to tears to even think about them.  And forever thereafter, the subject could simply not be brought up --- Cec never stopped mourning their loss.

    Ironically, I videotaped bits and pieces of the whole tale from the earliest days of tending to the kittens, right up to the adoption. It was a video showed so much love ... but it could never be shown.

    Finally, a story about Cec's illness. The number #1 cancer treatment facility in America is M.D. Anderson in Houston. I got in touch with them very early on to try to arrange for Cec to be evaluated there. I put together all the medical reports and x-rays and microscope slides and medical histories etc and sent them off. Then I tried to set up the appointment, but was told that M.D. Anderson would not see anyone if they currently had a doctor who was providing treatment (yeah ... like a cancer patient is really going to stop all lifesaving treatment just for the chance to be evaluated).

    I immediately lied and said that actually Cec had just finished her last cycle, and didn't even have a doctor right now. I was told that they would need to speak to Cecily personally to confirm this. 

    Knowing Cec, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I told her that all we needed to do was for Cec to call to confirm an appointment date, and then added as a simple last-minute thought: "oh and by the way, just tell them that you've finished your current treatment and don't have a doctor now, since it will cut through a bunch of red tape that could otherwise hold us back."

    Just as I feared, Cec uttered the words I was anticipating: "But that would be a lie."  I responded with vim and vigor, "Oh Cec, that's just a teeny white lie to get past beaurocracy ... in fact this is so much the typical baloney that one has to go through in dealing with these places, that it doesn't even count as a lie at all. We just need to expedite."

    "I can't do it," came her reply. "I won't lie."

    Cec couldn't do it. 

* [Jim called Anderson and said that he was speaking as Cec's husband; that Cec was feeling too ill to get on the phone ... but even then it still took weeks for Anderson to be ready to set up a date. (Can you imagine if someone really HAD gone off all treatment to await that appointment). By then, Cec wasn't feeling up it; she never got to M.D. Anderson.]

     Cecily's integrity was always the most important thing to her. She was a person without an alternate agenda. She did not want anything at anyone else's expense. She was honest to a fault. Cec never massaged the truth. She was incapable of anything less than total honesty in her feelings ---  and in all of her dealings, personal, business or otherwise.

    And that's one of many reasons that I valued her dear friendship so much for almost 2 decades. Cec is in my thoughts every minute of every day. How could someone so special not be? We are on this planet in the flesh for just a very short time. It is only by continuing to live in the thoughts of future generations that we truly live forever. Cec has secured a coveted place in eternity that no millionaire can buy. Cec is still with all of us. By virtue of her acts and deeds while she was on this earth, Cecily has achieved immortality. The purity and loveliness of Cecily's spirit surely allows a centuries-old quote to apply equally to Cec today: "No closer to the gods, can any mortal rise."

Mark.

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