I met Annette three months before she died. In relationship categories we were acquaintances bonded through cancer. I took a photo of her by the Batmobile with Batman and Robin during a National Night Out event. All I can tell you about her is she liked photography and cars and was battling brain cancer.
She knew I was in the midst of treatment for melanoma from reading my column in the paper. When she told me she wanted to submit photos from events I couldn’t make it to, all I could think was, “You are probably dealing with more than I am,” yet I sensed it was something she really wanted.
She sent me a number of photos from a couple of different events and said we should meet sometime for coffee. But she also talked to her mother about our meeting and invited me up north where her mother lived to relax. It’s beautiful up there – a great place to take photos she told me. She barely knew me yet she and her mom would have opened their home to me.
I saw Annette once as I was going in for a treatment over the summer – or at least I thought it was her. I emailed her and confirmed that yes it was. She had been there for something to help determine if her current treatment was working. She said maybe we could meet for coffee after she finished her treatment.
I hadn’t heard from Annette since probably the end of August. The other morning I woke and thought I should email her to see how she was doing. That day at work I found her death notice in the paper. She passed away Oct. 30 at the age of 50.
Although I never checked to see if the editor used any of Annette’s photos, I know the photo that mattered most to her was the shot I took of her with Batman and Robin. It was one of the few times our editor in chief lifted the ban on distributing photos and allowed me to send the image to her. Her husband had cut off Batman’s and Robin’s heads when he took the photo. “I knew he would do that,” she told me. She said her mother would love that picture.
Although I barely knew Annette, knowing she lost her battle to cancer slapped me alongside the head. It’s one more life claimed by this dread disease. As a fellow cancer patient, part of me feels lucky my treatment is going well, but part of me takes note of cancer’s viciousness and sees again that we can never take our days on Earth for granted.
Rest in peace Annette. Your battle is over. I bet you are taking some amazing photos in heaven and riding in a beautiful, shiny, classic car. I raise my cup of coffee to you.