Posts Tagged ‘Theresa Elizabeth Coursey’

Home again, home again

January 11, 2011

Miss me? I drove to California for Theresa Coursey’s memorial service, and while it was swell to be among friends, people I hadn’t seen in a spell, a guy likes everyone to be present and accounted for, and we were one fine woman short.

Theresa’s service drew a standing-room-only crowd, the sort we’d all secretly like to have, but few of us deserve. Theresa had it coming. Her husband and their children all spoke, and if there was a dry eye in the house it was not one of mine.

Afterward we ate and drank, talked and took long walks, and after a few days together we all scattered, returning to our lives in Prescott, Philly, Tempe, New York, Colorado. But I’m still thinking of Theresa, wishing I’d spent more time around her, and I know I’m not alone.

Being present these days is not always easy, but it remains vital. In “Taking the Path of Zen,” the late Robert Aitken Roshi recounted the evening message of sesshin as given at Hawaii’s Diamond Sangha:

I beg to urge you, everyone:

Life-and-death is a grave matter,

all things pass quickly away;

each of us must be completely alert:

never neglectful, never indulgent.

That’s my evening message to you. In the morning, the comedy will resume.

Theresa Elizabeth Coursey, R.I.P.

January 1, 2011
Theresa Elizabeth Coursey, Jan. 15, 1956-Dec. 31, 2010

Theresa Elizabeth Coursey, Jan. 15, 1956-Dec. 31, 2010

Theresa Elizabeth Coursey didn’t get to see 2011. She finally lost her years-long battle with cancer on New Year’s Eve, after spending Christmas Day in the hospital, missing her 55th birthday by just a couple of weeks.

Her husband, Chris, an old friend, college roommate and colleague, brought her home to live out the remainder of her life surrounded by family. But she was not without friends in the hospital. A veteran nurse, Theresa was treated “like a rock star — the mentor around whom no one wants to make a mistake,” he said.

We all kept hoping that cancer would make a mistake, but mostly it doesn’t. Theresa was already a two-time breast-cancer survivor in 2008, when she rode The Breakaway Mile Ride in Santa Rosa as the Amgen Tour of California came to town.

But the disease sought out other targets of opportunity — first a lung, then her brain, and finally it held dominion everywhere. Though she battled it through round after round, enduring surgeries, radiation and chemo’, she was fighting outside her weight class, as are we all. That bell finally rings.

We wish peace and rest to Theresa, and continued courage and strength to Chris and their children, Diana, Andrew, Colleen and Alex.

• Late update: Theresa’s obit in The Press Democrat, her hometown paper.