I want to post a poem I wrote while Fred was hospitalized.
I was blessed to know a wonderful woman named Elika Hemphill. I helped her at Child's Play the toystore for many years. I was so excited to see her become a involved parent at my son's school. I watched her fight her first round of cancer while taking care of a family. When she went in remission she came by the store one day and asked me to paint a mural of her children's faces on her fence just like my work at American City Diner. I said I would as soon as my schedule freed up. My schedule did not free up in time for Elika to get her painting. She came in the store on June 25th 2008. She was in a hurry, but I asked her if she would like to enroll her children in the art lesson I was teaching the next day. She said yes. She came even though she had received devstating news. Her cancer was back. She died in the fall of 2008.
Here's to Elika and Fred.
The Last Time I saw Elika
The last time I saw Elika,
She sat on the bench and looked away
And as she sat her children played.
They painted cherry blossom scenes
And she looked upon them in between.
The day I heard, oh Elika,
Michelle told me, oh Elika
The cancer's back and now has spread.
It's gone through her. It's in her head.
Oh no...Oh why? This isn't fair!
But these thoughts, I did not share.
Why not go see Elika?
I could not go see Elika.
I could not bear to think
Her face not now so rosy pink.
Her sunlight-shine begun to fade.
And all the hope is now forbade.
Each time I thought of her I cried
Like some part inside of me had died.
Maybe my heart already knew,
My crying time was coming soon.
That my sunlight-shining day would end.
That I would lose my greatest friend.
She knew she'd die that painting day.
She knew, and she came anyway.
Because it's worth it one last time
To see the sun, to paint, to shine,
To be with children and to show
How much you love them as you go.
-Regina Holliday 4-7-09