On Saturday October 10, 2009 my long time friend and fellow nurse, Leah Jett, left this earth.
Leah and I met in Nursing School and our friendship was forged first as colleagues in study groups, long nights hitting the books, classes we collaborated on to pass, e.g. Statistics & Probabilities. No one would have given odds on either of us passing with even the C that was required but we pressed on and together surmounted the obstacle of higher mathematics with very respectable B’s.

Leah reveled in being a nurse and her patients were not only blessed by her efforts to excel academically but in equal measure by the dedication she showed them and the care she gave them.  She had a nurse’s heart and she was not stingy with it but rather as any need presented itself, she blanketed the need in any way she could.  Lost a job….Well, she might know someone who needs some help….  Scared of labor….Well, how about you sign up for a childbirth class?
She had known her own heartbreak in life, had dreams that didn’t quite come to pass.  It opened her vision and seeded her heart with a true desire to help where she could.

Laughter was Leah.  She did not have one of those “feminine, quiet, restrained behind her hand acceptable female laughs.”  She had a “I really mean it laugh.  I think this is funny as all get out laugh and I am owning my joy.”  She shared it often, with irreverence and noise.  She dared all of us to be less serious.  In complete appreciation of the irony of life, she offered us the chance to know in very real terms how crazy it was to take it all too seriously.  After her Lupus diagnosis, she not only continued planning her life; she pushed on- full bore ahead.  She reminded us that none of us were “getting out of this alive anyway”  always with a very mischievous look on her face looking anything but the victim.

Her life on this earth ended last Saturday but I can hear her still. I can see her smile. I seek to emulate her bravery and spunk and to tell her that her life mattered so much to all who knew her and what a precious thing that is.  She made a difference for her family, her patients & her friends and this world will be a sadder place without her in it. We press on in her absence in tribute to her because Leah was no quitter.

Patti and Gary Wiles

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